How to Properly Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Consistent oral hygiene at home is a crucial part of maintaining your oral health and protecting your smile. However, there are many people who do not know how to properly brush or floss their teeth. Dr. Teddi Olszewski at Northampton Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is committed to helping patients keep their smiles clean and healthy. At our practice in Northampton, MA, we can give you advice on how to brush your teeth and to floss for optimal oral health based on your unique needs. There are some basic guidelines you can follow to improve your flossing and brushing techniques.

Brushing Your Teeth

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you:

  • Brush twice a day for two full minutes
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Replace your brush every three to four months, or whenever the bristles fray
  • Use a toothpaste with fluoride in it

Your toothbrush should be able to fit comfortably inside your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily. If you are unable to easily reach your back molars, you may need a different size or shape of toothbrush. Dr. Olszewiski or one of our hygienists can provide you with recommendations for toothbrush size or shape based on the anatomy of your mouth.

We are happy to show you more effective ways of brushing and flossing and give you advice on how to improve your at-home care routine.

Proper Brushing Technique

Our team can demonstrate the best brushing technique during your regular cleaning and checkup. The ADA recommends that you:

  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree to your gums
  • Using short strokes, gently move the brush back and forth over the surfaces of your teeth
  • Brush all outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth

To reach the inside surfaces of your front teeth, simply tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes. Make sure to brush for the full two minutes, spending an equal amount of time on each section of your smile.

Flossing Your Teeth

Smiling woman flossing her teeth

In addition to brushing, it is important to clean between teeth at least once every day. Plaque, food particles, and decay-causing bacteria can linger between the teeth and under the gum line where your toothbrush cannot reach. To properly floss your teeth, you should:

  • Use an 18-inch piece of floss
  • Wrap most of the floss around your middle fingers
  • Hold a portion of the floss tightly between your thumb and forefingers
  • Gently guide floss between teeth using a rubbing motion
  • Curve floss into a C-shape once you reach the gum line
  • Slide floss between the gum and the tooth
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth and rub it against the side

Make sure to clean between all of your teeth and behind the last molar. Then, throw the floss away. If you have difficulties flossing or have a restoration which interferes with proper flossing, our team can recommend other tools or techniques to make the process easier.

Maintain the Health of Your Smile

At Northampton Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients keep their smiles clean and healthy. We are happy to show you more effective ways of brushing and flossing and give you advice on how to improve your at-home care routine. For more information about our services, call (413) 584-2902 or contact our office online today.

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