How to Properly Brush & Floss

Southern California Family Dentistry

Southern California Family Dentistry - Whittier, Lake Forest, San Clemente - Dental Flossing

Maintaining oral hygiene establishes through consistent flossing and brushing of the teeth. Routine visits to your dentist eliminate debris, plaque, and tartar. However, sustaining oral hygiene at home is equally imperative. The health of your mouth depends on consistent brushing and flossing so your smile remains beautiful all day and prevents severe diseases.

Proper brushing and flossing prevent:

Tooth Decay:  Tooth decay can potentially lead to the loss of a tooth and often involves complicated dental procedures. When the acid in plaque wears away the natural enamel, it results in tooth decay. Prevention is possible through proper hygiene methods.

Staining: There are wide spread factors that result in staining or the yellowing of the teeth. A few triggers that result in teeth stains include coffee, tea and smoking. In order to prevent the stains from becoming permanent, brushing and flossing must be regularly performed.

Periodontal disease: The disease is a severe, gradual condition which results in the recession of the gum or jawbone, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease may lead to severe health problems in various parts of the body due to the toxins found in plaque.

Halitosis: Also referred to as ‘bad breath’, halitosis occurs on or between the teeth and triggered by particles left behind from old food. Brushing and flossing daily will remove food particles while leaving the mouth refreshed and healthy.

The Proper Way to Brush

Brushing of the teeth must be performed at least twice per day—generally in the morning and before bed. A small, soft, bristled toothbrush is an ideal choice. In order to polish through all areas of the mouth, the head of the brush must be small. The bristles should be gentle enough as to not cause unnecessary injury to the gum tissue. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), revolving or vacillating toothbrushes are more successful than regular forms.

Basic guide to proper brushing:

  1. The toothbrush should be positioned at a 45-degree angle between the gums and teeth.
  2. Tenderly brush the teeth and gum line by using circular motions.
  3. The surface of each tooth must be brushed: tongue-side, cheek-side, chewing surfaces, and back teeth.
  4. Brushing the tongue will eliminate debris, food and fungi and optimize back-and-forth movement to brush the chewing surfaces.

The Proper Way to Floss 

Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth).  Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets.  The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis.

A basic guide to proper flossing:

  • Cut a piece of floss to around 18-inch.
  • Wrap it around the middle finger of each hand until they are 2-3 inches apart.
  • Use the thumbs to work gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
  • Gently move the floss up and down to remove interdental plaque and debris.
  • Refrain from snapping the floss between the teeth as this will aggravate and wound the gum.

Please ask your dentist or dental hygienist if you have inquiries about the proper way to brush or floss.

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