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!