Brush twice. Floss once. These are the daily recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA) for taking care of your teeth. However, if you’re not using the proper techniques when brushing or flossing, you may be doing more harm than good to your teeth! Check out the steps below to make sure you’re getting the most out of your dental care routine.
How to brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but having the proper technique is just as significant. First, let’s cover the basics — what materials do you need to take care of your oral health?
- A toothbrush that is ADA approved
- Fluoride toothpaste
Now that we have our materials, here is a step-by-step process for brushing your teeth.
- Splash some water on your toothbrush.
- Apply fluoride toothpaste.
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
- Insert the toothbrush into your mouth and begin gently brushing back and forth on each tooth. During these two minutes of brushing, you should spend about 30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of your mouth.
- Repeat this process twice a day.
Brushing for two minutes might seem like an eternity, but it’s important to not rush or brush too aggressively. Remember that you can’t use the same toothbrush forever. If you don’t replace your toothbrush, it becomes useless for cleaning your teeth and gums. So, it’s critical to replace your toothbrush every 3–4 months.
Check out this blog to learn more about the difference between a standard toothbrush and an electric toothbrush.
How to floss
Flossing cleans parts of your teeth and mouth that a toothbrush can’t reach, so it’s essential to floss at least once a day. Here are some tips and techniques to make sure you’re flossing the right way.
- Grab about 18 inches of floss.
- Wrap the floss around your thumb and pointer finger, creating a 2-inch gap between your fingers.
- Gently slide the floss through your teeth, curving in a C shape around each tooth.
- Before moving on to the next tooth, readjust the floss so the following tooth gets a fresh clean.
- Repeat this process once a day on every tooth in your mouth.
Flossing shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. Make sure that you don’t floss too hard and use new floss every time you clean your teeth.
Dentists recommend two different types of floss: waxed floss and dental tape. Waxed floss gets into tight, hard-to-reach areas whereas dental tape helps cover larger areas between teeth. Click here for more information on what type of floss fits your needs.
Proper Form Is Important
As we have discussed earlier, proper technique is crucial because brushing or flossing incorrectly can harm your teeth and gums.
Although it might seem like a good idea to brush your teeth aggressively, harsh brushing can cause the tooth enamel to wear down and gums to recede. This can lead to bigger problems for your oral health. Remember to be gentle, yet firm, while brushing your teeth.
When it comes to flossing, follow the steps discussed earlier and remember that flossing too hard can result in serious damage to your oral health. Some of these results include cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Dentists say if your gums bleed when you floss, it means that you aren’t flossing enough. Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease, so it’s important to stay consistent with flossing and visit your dentist if your gums bleed while flossing.
If you follow all these tips and techniques for brushing and flossing, you’ll have a great foundation for good oral health. It’s important to still visit your dentist every six months (twice a year because even if you’re brushing and flossing with perfect technique every day, the dentist can still get to plaque in unreachable places and check for signs of cavities, tooth decay, and oral cancer.
Looking for more information on oral health? Check out this blog to learn more: