Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, and don’t forget to floss! Remember when your parents used to push that on you every single day? Brushing and flossing are both very important…but what if you’re doing it wrong? As it turns out, there’s an alarming amount of people who don’t brush or floss properly, let alone who don’t brush or floss at all. If you want to be part of the healthy 50%, here are the proper brushing and flossing tips and tricks to keep your mouth forever clean!
Brushing and Flossing: The Proper Way
First things first: make sure you’re using a proper toothbrush. Taking care of teeth is only as effective as the tools you use. Most of the best toothbrushes recommended by dentists are electric, motorized toothbrushes.
Why are electric toothbrushes the best? Well, it helps that they are perfectly shaped to fit over and around your teeth for the best reach. Then, the fast spinning bristles thoroughly, yet gently, scrub away any plaque left behind—plaque that would otherwise be hard to get rid of with a manual toothbrush.
If you do use a manual toothbrush, replace every two months, or when toothbrush finally wears out and bristles become frizzy and weak.
Next, pick a dentist recommended toothpaste brand. A dentist will typically recommend FDA-approved fluoride-toothpaste.
Now, we move on to the brushing itself. Make sure you have all the right “cleaning tools” and set some time every day, preferably once in the morning when you first wake up and once at night right before you go to bed. Follow these steps:
- Bring your toothbrush to a 45-degree angle around your teeth.
- Brush gently where the gums meet the teeth and down to the bottom of each tooth.
- Brush the inner and outer portions of your teeth two to three times in circular motions.
- Move on to chewing surfaces (the bottom of your teeth) and brush straight on.
- Make up and down strokes all along your teeth.
- Move your brush around often to cover all the teeth.
- Watch closely, so you’re sure you covered every tooth.
- Brush your tongue gently for 30 seconds.
When it comes to flossing, the old way is always the best way—but you’ll likely see a lot written about water flossers and floss picks. Make no mistake, those are great, and you should feel free to use those. However, nothing can replace your trusted string.
Traditional floss gets in those areas no other flossing technique will allow. Using a string of floss allows you to get between the gums and teeth—those other things don’t. Once you get the proper floss ready, here’s what you should do:
- Get 18 inches of floss and wind it around your fingers until there are only about two inches between each index finger.
- Gently slide between teeth, back and forth against the teeth.
- Curve the floss so it’ll slide up your tooth and between the gums and your teeth.
- Repeat on all the teeth, gently scraping the plaque off.
Once you’re done brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth out to remove any loose plaque. Use fluoride mouthwash. Mouthwash is just another technique you should implement in your daily push for preventative dentistry.