When we do something every day, it can be easy to stop thinking about it how We do this. But for some things, like our daily dental care, how we do it is just as important as doing it consistently.
In this post, we will learn about the proper technique of brushing and flossing, compare dental cleaning products and what else to keep in mind to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
How and When to Floss, Brush, and Brush Your Teeth
Step 1. Floss Well
While you may not always feel like doing it, flossing your teeth really helps to make sure that you are keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Flossing is how you remove plaque and debris from areas a toothbrush can’t reach – which is why you should floss before brushing.
You usually only need to floss once per day, but you can floss twice per day if you go very gently. If it hurts to floss, it could mean that you’re flossing too much. To floss properly:
- Wrap an 18-inch piece around each of your middle fingers until you have an inch or two left in the center to floss through.
- Hold each end of that middle section with your thumb and forefinger so that it is taut.
- Gently work the floss between your teeth and pull it for each tooth so that it twists around the edges. Slide it up and down on each tooth a few times before moving on to the next area, making sure it’s below the gum line.
- Use a new section of floss for each tooth.
If you’re not sure whether you’re flossing properly, just ask your dental hygienist for a refresher at your next checkup.
types of dental floss
You have a few options when it comes to floss. The two main types of floss are nylon and single-filament. Both will get the job done, but single-filament floss is a bit more expensive because it’s stronger and easier to get between teeth.
In addition to traditional floss, there are flossing alternatives that can be used to clean between your teeth. But standard string floss is most effective when used properly.
No matter what type of floss you choose, always look for products with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. The ADA’s seal means that the product has been proven to be safe and effective.
Flossing options include:
- dental pics Disposable dental picks often look like a toothpick with a short length of floss on one end. Their design may make it easier to move around in your mouth than regular floss.
- interdental brush – These brushes take the form of bristles wrapped around a piece of plastic or wire. They can be used to brush in between your teeth, and are especially useful if you have an orthodontic device in your mouth (such as a permanent retainer) that interferes with flossing.
- water flossers As the name suggests, a water flosser uses a small stream of water to clean the spaces between the teeth.
Step 2. Brush your teeth with a toothbrush recommended by a dentist
You’ve probably heard this general rule of thumb about how often you should brush your teeth: twice a day. This is part of the ADA’s official recommendations, along with the use of fluoride toothpaste. Of course, you can brush more often, such as after meals. But brushing at least twice a day is just one part of good brushing.
How long should you brush your teeth?
It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day for about 2 minutes.
How should you brush your teeth?
One of the most important parts of tooth brushing technique is pressure. In fact, it does not take much force to remove plaque from the teeth. But brushing too hard can wear down the protective enamel and irritate your gums. To get a feel for how hard you should brush, try brushing your teeth by holding your toothbrush with only your thumb and forefinger.
The speed of your toothbrush also matters. For the front and back surfaces of your teeth, brushing is most gentle on your gums and enamel, using short vertical strokes with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Small, circular motions are also good. Avoid brushing straight to one side, be sure to brush every surface, and don’t forget your tongue.
What Kind of Bristles Should Your Toothbrush Have?
The ADA recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush. They also recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months, when the bristles get worn or after you’ve been sick.
Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes?
You can thoroughly clean your teeth with both a regular toothbrush and an electric one. Many electric toothbrushes use soft bristles, circular motions, and controls how hard you press. This means you don’t have to focus on technique like a regular toothbrush, but you still have to be careful and remember to keep it charged. This is a compromise that you can make based on your own preferences or your dentist’s recommendation.
Step 3. Rinse (but not immediately)
Many of us have a habit of rinsing our mouth immediately after brushing. However, it is best to avoid rinsing your mouth right away, even with mouthwash. That’s because if you’re using a fluoride toothpaste, as the ADA recommends, rinsing your mouth can remove the fluoride that builds up on your teeth when you brush.
Leaving your mouth unwashed for 10-20 minutes after brushing means getting the full protective benefits that fluoride provides. But you can still spit out any excess toothpaste.
Bonus Step: Get a Dental Checkup If You’re Due
With the right tools and technique, you can do a really good job of keeping your teeth clean. But no matter how well you clean your teeth, regular dental checkups are still just as important as brushing and flossing. Not only are they opportunities for the dentist to catch signs of dental problems early – they are also opportunities for you to improve your technique.
After examining your teeth, a dentist can tell you if you’re missing certain spots, if you should be brushing more gently, whether certain types of brushes or flossing tools are right for you, and more. . They can answer any questions you have about taking care of your teeth.