Brushing and Flosing

Oral Hygiene
We have all inherited a different set of teeth; some have inherited remarkably strong teeth, while others have inherited teeth with dental problems. A few minutes a day, devoted to thoroughly cleaning your teeth, will give you a lifetime of smiles.

Plaque
Brushing and flossing everyday is the most effective way to remove plaque. Plaque is the sticky, colorless film of bacteria which constantly forms on your teeth, which, if left undisturbed for 24 hours, forms the hard deposits called tartar, or calculus and is responsible for cavities and gum disease.

How To Brush Properly
To keep your teeth clean and plaque-free, practice the following brushing techniques daily. Use a toothbrush with soft rounded-tip bristles. Hard bristles may harm your teeth and gums. Choose a toothbrush that will allow you to reach each tooth comfortably. Children will need a smaller toothbrush. A worn out toothbrush cannot clean your teeth properly; you should replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Gently tilt your toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the gums, so you can reach the food debris just under the gum line. Massage the gum line in each spot with a gentle circular motion and then sweep the bristles across the tooth surface away from the gum. Clean both the front and inner gum line this way. Brush down on your top teeth and up on your bottom teeth. Work the bristles into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of your teeth. To remove bacteria and freshen your breath, don’t forget to gently brush your tongue. Remember to brush long enough and thoroughly enough to remove the plaque from your teeth. Ideally, one should brush after every meal and snack. These days, this is hard to do because of our busy lifestyles. It is important that you brush at least once a day, and the most effective time to brush is before bed.

How To Floss Properly
Brushing cleans the surface of your teeth, but you need to floss to get between the teeth where brushing cannot. The following is the most effective way to floss: Break off about 18 inches of floss or, for children a piece as long as their gum. Wrap the floss around one finger of each hand. Hold about an inch of floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger. Pull the floss between each tooth using a gentle “sawing” motion. 

Curve the floss tightly around your teeth at the gum line and gently scrape the sides of each tooth, moving the floss away from your gums. Remember to do the backside of your last tooth. If you are just beginning to floss your teeth, your gums may be tender or bleed. This is normal. As the plaque is being broken up and the bacteria removed, your gums will heal. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after the first week, contact your dentist. Remember to always be gentle when inserting your floss between your teeth and under the gum line. Never force or snap the floss into the gums. Regular dental care is very important because even if you brush and floss thoroughly, some areas may be missed. Also, some people develop tartar more quickly than others. Therefore, it is essential to have your teeth cleaned and checked every 6 months.

The long-term health of your teeth and gums is a result of your inherited characteristics, your on-going general health, how you care for your teeth, and regular professional care.