Protect Your Smile with Proper Brushing and Flossing
Visiting the dentist twice a year is not enough to make sure your smile stays healthy and beautiful. You also need to consistently care for your teeth at home by using proper brushing and flossing techniques. Many adults are surprised to learn that their typical at-home hygiene routine is lacking. At your regular preventive appointments, Dr. Art Carpenter and our team in Kenilworth, IL, can provide tips for better hygienic habits. In general, patients should brush twice a day and floss at least once. We have compiled some general information about brushing and flossing. However, if you have a dental restoration or another unique need, we can help you find products and methods to protect your smile.
Finding the Right Products
With so many types of oral hygiene products available, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends:
- A soft-bristled brush that fits comfortably in your mouth
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Floss of any kind
It is important to replace your toothbrush whenever the bristles become worn, which usually occurs about every two months. If you have trouble flossing, you may find a holder, pick, or stick makes the process easier.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your oral health or brushing and flossing techniques, you can schedule an appointment with our team to learn more.
We also recommend using a rinse after you finish brushing and flossing to remove loosened plaque and particles. A member of our team can discuss the different hygienic tools available to you and help you choose the right ones for your needs.
Build Better Brushing Habits
One of the keys to brushing properly is taking your time. You should brush twice each day for at least two full minutes. You may want to set a timer or invest in an electric toothbrush that has a timer built in. When brushing your teeth, you should:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.
- Use enough pressure to feel the bristles between your teeth without squishing them.
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth several times, using short, circular movements.
- Make sure to brush the chewing surfaces directly.
- Move your brush frequently to reach every tooth.
- Watch yourself in the mirror as you brush.
Remember to brush your tongue as well once you finish brushing your teeth. Bacteria can remain on the surface of your tongue, causing bad breath and other concerns.
Efficient Flossing Techniques
When you brush your teeth, you can only reach the external surfaces, leaving the spaces between teeth vulnerable to decay and gum disease. Flossing is the most effective way to remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth. When flossing, you should:
- Start with about 18” of floss.
- Wind most of the floss around your fingers, leaving about an inch of floss between your hands.
- Guide floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Gently curve the floss into a “C” when you reach the gum line.
- Hold floss against each tooth and gently scrape the sides, moving the floss away from your gums as you do so.
- Floss between every tooth, including the very back ones.
If you have gone some time without flossing, you may notice some soreness or bleeding. It typically takes about a week to remove all the built-up bacteria so your gums feel healthy and clean again.
Learn More about Proper Oral Hygiene
At our practice, Dr. Carpenter offers a range of preventive dentistry services, including help with your hygienic techniques. If you are concerned about any aspect of your oral health or brushing and flossing techniques, you can schedule an appointment with our team to learn more. Contact our office online or call (847) 251-5004 today.