It is a common saying among dentists that the most crucial part of dental care occurs at home. The fact of the matter is that proper brushing and flossing habits, in addition to regular checkups at the dentist, prevent tooth decay and gingivitis/periodontitis (gum disease). We know it can be a hassle, especially when you’re running late for work or you just want to go straight to bed and not have to worry about anything else. But the inconvenience of brushing and flossing your teeth each day is insignificant when compared to having to face a dentist’s drill.
The American Dentist Association (ADA) suggests that you brush two times a day. Your toothbrush should be soft-bristled and be able to reach all parts of your mouth. ADA recommends replacing your brush every four months or when the bristles on your brush are frayed. It is also recommended to use ADA-accepted toothpaste containing fluoride – the most essential ingredient of toothpaste which prevents gum disease and cavities.
Best Way to Brush
Dentists recommend placing your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline. Then brush the base of your teeth – where the gum and teeth connect, up to the top of your tooth – where you chew. Your brush strokes should be gentle and not damage your gums. If you brush too intensively, your gums might recede and your teeth will feel sensitive. The worst case scenario of brushing too hard is your teeth loosening and eventually falling out. Don’t let that scare you though – make sure you are brushing thoroughly and getting all around your teeth!
Do I Really Have to Floss?
Even if your tooth brushing techniques are top-notch, there are still limitations to using a toothbrush. They cannot remove the plaque or tiny bits of food between teeth, for instance. They also can’t clean under the gumline or under braces most of the time. This is where flossing comes in. The ADA recommends flossing once a day with unwaxed floss that is thin enough to slide between the spaces in your teeth. As with brushing, you want to make sure you are not damaging your gums by flossing too rigorously. Follow these instructions for the safest and most effective way of flossing your teeth:
- Using slow back in forth movement, gently push the string of floss between two adjacent teeth. Then work your way all the way down to the gumline, but don’t push too hard once you get there – this should not be a painful process!
- Next, while still between the same two teeth, curve the string of floss into a “C” shape and gently scrub the sides of each tooth.
- Now do the same for all of your other teeth. Don’t forget the hard-to-reach teeth in the back – those probably need it the most!
Final Tips on Brushing Correctly
- Brush for two minutes, twice a day. Use a timer or play a specific song each time to make sure you are brushing for the right amount of time.
- Brush both the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth.
- Don’t forget your molars way in the back! These areas are some of the most common areas of dangerous bacteria buildup.
- If you are having trouble brushing the inside surfaces on your top and bottom front teeth, position your toothbrush more vertically. Using slow back and forth movement, bring the brush to your teeth and gums.
- Don’t forget the tongue and the roof of your mouth either! These areas are other common culprits of unhealthy bacteria buildup.
If you are brushing and flossing your teeth properly, but are still developing cavities or other dental complications, you might have a serious condition worth investigating. Don’t hesitate to call us at (817) 431-5514 or use our Online Form Submission to request assistance before it gets worse!