Make Sure You are Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth Correctly

We are taught about the importance of regular tooth brushing from an early age. But how many of us are taught how to do it properly. My mother constantly warned me of the dangers of cavities and that prompted me to brush my teeth 3-4 times a day. The trouble was, I wasn’t doing in correctly and inadvertently brushed away parts of my gums.

Here are some tips on brushing that will help to ensure your oral health:

  • Use a soft toothbrush that fits comfortably into your mouth
  • Replace that brush at the start of every season (this will make it easy to remember as the seasons correspond with the amount of time a brush will remain effective)
  • Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums
  • Brush back and forth in short strokes
  • Make sure to brush all surface areas of your teeth (front, back, top)
  • Tilt the brush vertically in order to clean the inside areas of your teeth, using an up and down stroke method

If you need a reminder, the American Dental Association offers this handy graphic that you can print out and place near your bathroom sink.

For best results, you should also floss your teeth daily. Even if you get all of the bacteria on the surface of your teeth, it can still linger between them. Floss can reach these areas while your brush cannot.

Use 18-24 inches of floss and wrap it around each forefinger. Slide the floss gently between your teeth (too much pressure can result in gum cuts). Use a “C” motion so that the floss comes into contact with the tooth, but avoid making a “sawing” motion. Too much of that contact will actually wear away at your teeth. Upon finishing, be sure to rinse out your mouth and spit. That will take care of any stray bits of food left behind.

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