How to Brush and Floss Properly
Taking care of your dental hygiene fights bad breath, gum disease, prevents cavities and leads to healthy pearly whites. However, when it comes to brushing and flossing, you might not give much thought to the proper order. For most people, so long as they are flossing and brushing, they don’t bother with whether they are doing it right or not. The purpose of this post is to help you understand how to brush and floss properly.
Why do You Need Both Brushing and Flossing?
As you may already know, good dental hygiene requires more than brushing twice a day. Although brushing is the best way to clean the teeth, prevent cavities and get rid of dental plaque, it is not enough to keep the teeth healthy and fend off gum disease. Brushing will remove food debris and plaque but will not reach deep between the teeth. This is why flossing is crucial. Flossing leads to better dental hygiene since it lifts and removes food and plaque lodged between the teeth.
Floss Before Brushing
A common mistake people make is brushing then flossing. If you brush your teeth, then floss, plaque, bacteria and food that is released by flossing will be left in your mouth. You should floss first and then brush to remove the released particles from your mouth. Doing so ensures there will be less dental plaque, bacteria and food particles in your mouth, thus reducing the risk of gum disease.
How to Floss Properly
You need to floss correctly to prevent damage to your gums and teeth. Follow the following steps when flossing.
- Break at least 18 to 24 inches of dental floss and wind it around both your middle fingers. Leave 1 to 2 inches of floss for the teeth.
- Hold the floss taut with the index fingers and thumb and place the floss between two teeth. Glide gently up and down and rub the floss against the teeth. Be careful not to glide into the gums as that can cause bruises.
- When the floss gets to the gums, curve it at the base to form a C-shape. This helps it get in the space between the tooth and the gums.
- Repeat these steps for the other teeth and use a clean section of the floss as you move to the next teeth.
If you have braces, flossing will take longer, about 10 to 15 minutes. Waxed floss is the best for braces.
- Break 18 to 24 inches of dental floss and stand in front of a mirror to ensure the floss goes to the right place.
- Thread the floss between the teeth and the main wire. Twist the loose ends of the dental floss around the index fingers so that you are able to move around with ease.
- Gently press dental floss between two teeth, then move up and down and along the sides of the teeth.
- For the top teeth, make an upside-down U with the dental floss. Go up the side of one tooth up to the gum, then glide down the side of the other tooth.
- Remove the floss gently and unthread it behind your braces. Be careful not to pop the floss out of the tooth, as doing so might dislodge the wire.
The main types of dental floss are dental tape, standard floss and super flosses. Always talk to your dentist about the best kind of dental floss to use and how to use it.
How to Brush Properly
A proper brushing technique is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brushing reduces the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. While there are many brushing techniques using a manual toothbrush, talk to your dental professional first on how to brush. This is more so if you have braces. You also need to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Brushing should be done twice a day for at least 2 minutes. Start with the outer and inner surfaces and brush at a 45-degree angle. Do so in short, half-tooth-wide against your gum line. Next you need to move to the chewing surfaces, hold your toothbrush flat and move it back and forth. Tilt the brush vertically to brush the inside of your front teeth. Don’t forget to bush your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion.
These are the steps you should follow when flossing and brushing your teeth. If you need expert advice on oral hygiene or have a dental problem that needs fixing, Denwest Dental Clinic is happy to help. Get in touch today.