Fri, Feb 23, 2018
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Procedures Cleanings & Prevention Brushing & Flossing

Brushing & Flossing

Home Dental Care - Brushing & Flossing

75% of Americans have some form of gum disease.  Your toothbrush and floss is your best defense.  Brushing and flossing extends the life of your teeth.  Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once per day, and have regular dental exams and cleanings.

Why proper brushing and flossing is important

  • Protect against cavities and decay
  • Prevent gum disease (periodontal)
  • Save money by preventing cavities
  • Prevent bad breath
  • Help keep your teeth white

How to Brush Your Teeth

Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle down toward your gum line.  Start with your back teeth and work your way forward creating small tooth size circles on the inside and outside of each tooth.  Brush the top back and forth to remove the plaque.  When brushing the front teeth use just the tip of the tooth brush and still make tooth sized circles.  Do not push down too hard, as this can make the gums pull away from the teeth.  Don't forget to brush your tongue and sides of your cheeks.  Proper brushing should take at least two full minutes.  To check if you or your children are brushing well, utilize discoloring tablets to see plaque.

When selecting a toothbrush

  • Make sure the bristles are not too hard as it can damage your gums
  • The toothbrush should have a small tip to brush inside front teeth
  • Electric toothbrushes are easy to use and can remove plaque effectively

You should replace your tooth brush every 3-4 months.

ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.  Flossing helps remove the sticky film on teeth called plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line.

Recipe for Proper Flossing

The Ingredients

  • Approximately 12 to 18 inches of dental floss
  • Mirror
  • Water or mouthwash

Types of Dental Floss

Dental floss comes in multiple flavors and forms.  The main types of dental floss are:

  • Waxed and Unwaxed dental floss - the waxed dental floss slides between your teeth easier
  • String or Floss Holders - floss holders are easier to hold on to than string floss, but string floss, if done properly, cleans better as it will form to the shape of your teeth
  • Tape Floss - tape floss is thicker than regular floss and is utilized if you have gaps between your teeth

Step by Step Directions For Proper Flossing

  • First rap the floss around your index fingers until your fingers are 2-3 inches apart
  • Starting with your back teeth, place the floss between two teeth and slowly move the floss back and forth until you reach the gum line.  Curve the floss around a tooth, applying a small amount of pressure and move the floss along the side of the tooth.   Repeat this process on the other sides of the tooth.  Next place the floss just under the gum line on the front surface of the tooth, applying pressure scrap down the tooth.  Apply this process to all teeth.
  • You make want to shift around while flossing to prevent gum irritation.
  • Change the floss between your fingers after each tooth.
  • Once all the teeth are flossed, rinse your mouth with water or mouth wash to remove all the small particles.

If you have questions regarding oral hygiene, ask your dental hygienist.  Your hygienist may recommend specific tooth brushes, tongue cleaners, fluoride or other medicated rinses to be used at home.

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