How to Brush and Floss Effectively

Brushing and flossing may seem like simple tasks, but they are vital to the health of your mouth and your overall health. If you are not brushing and flossing properly, you could be increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease. Take these tips to make sure you are doing a good job. We have even included tips for brushing and flossing with braces and how to make brushing and flossing easier when a patient has trouble using their hands.

To brush your teeth, you want to hit the chewing surfaces, the insides, and the fronts of all your teeth. In addition, don’t forget the backs of your back molars. Use circular motions when brushing so that you follow the natural shape of your gum line. Brushing back and forth can irritate the gums and even cause them to recede. To brush all spots in your mouth properly, you should be taking about two minutes. Break your mouth into four sections and brush each section for thirty seconds to get an even brushing.

If you’re wearing braces, you also need to brush along the tops and bottoms of your brackets. You want to be sure no plaque has built up around the bracket edges. Then take an interdental cleaner and scrub the sides of the brackets under the wires.

For those who have trouble using their hands, like someone with arthritis, brushing your teeth can be more difficult. It is for this reason that electric toothbrushes can be a great idea. They do most of the work, so you just need to hold them in the right spot. Look for toothbrushes with a thicker handle, as well. There are even toothbrushes designed specifically for patients with arthritis.

Flossing should be done every day. It does not matter what time of day you do it or if you do it before or after you brush; you just need to do it once per day. Bacteria that form between your teeth need to be removed and disrupted at least once per day to avoid any damage to occur. To floss, take about eighteen inches of floss and wrap the ends around your fingers on both hands. Using about an inch of floss, place it between two teeth and use a sawing motion to bring the floss down to the gum line. Floss under the gums and all the way back up. Make sure to scrub both sides of the space. Floss between all of your teeth and pay extra attention to your molars; they do most of the chewing. If you wear braces, using a flossing threader will help you get the floss under those wires quicker and easier. If you have trouble using your hands, try tying the floss in a loop to get a little extra motion control. Floss picks can help with this, as well.

In addition to a great at-home oral care routine, visits to your dentist for a cleaning and examination are important, too! Make sure you schedule your dental visits on a routine basis.

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