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Oral health basics: How to properly brush and floss your teeth

Posted on October 19, 2022 in Dental Health

Knowing how to properly brush and floss your teeth is an important part of having good oral health.

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, you may do more harm than good to your teeth!

Check out the steps below to make sure you get the most out of your oral health care routine.

How to brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, and so is using the right techniques. So first, let’s cover the basics with the tools you need for a good oral health routine.

Must-have oral health tools:

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush that is ADA approved
  • Fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash

Now that we have our tools, here is a step-by-step process of how to brush your teeth.

  1. Splash some water on your toothbrush.
  2. Apply a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush.
  3. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Insert the toothbrush into your mouth and gently brush back and forth on each tooth. Spend two minutes gently brushing back and forth, spending about 30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of your mouth.
  5. Spit out the excess toothpaste.
  6. Repeat this process twice a day. 

Brushing for two minutes might seem like a long time, but it’s important to make sure each tooth is cleaned correctly. Since most people fall short of brushing for 2 minutes, consider these tips when getting in your full two-minutes – play your favorite song, count to 30 for each mouth quadrant, use the timer on your phone.

Replacing your toothbrush

Regularly replacing your toothbrush is important. If you don’t replace your toothbrush, it becomes useless for cleaning your teeth and gums. Try to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head (if using an electric toothbrush) every three to four months.

Check out this blog to learn more about the difference between a standard toothbrush and an electric toothbrush.

How to floss

Flossing helps clean parts of your teeth and mouth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Therefore, it’s important to floss once a day. 

Here are some tips to make sure you are flossing the right way.

  1. Grab about 18 inches of floss.
  2. Wrap the floss around your thumb and pointer finger – creating a two-inch gap between your fingers.
  3. Gently slide the floss through your teeth – curving in a C shape around each tooth.
  4. Before moving on, readjust the floss so the next tooth gets a fresh cleaning.
  5. Repeat this process daily on every tooth in your mouth.

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.

Flossing shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. However, make sure you don’t floss too hard, and use new floss every time you clean your teeth. 

Proper brushing and flossing protect your teeth

Although it might seem like a good idea to brush your teeth aggressively, harsh brushing can cause the tooth enamel to wear down and the gums to recede,  This can lead to problems for your oral health. Remember to be gentle yet firm while brushing your teeth. 

When it comes to flossing, it’s important to take note of any bleeding. Some bleeding is normal and can be a sign that you need to floss more often. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop or you bleed every time you floss, it could mean there’s a more serious problem like gum disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you are concerned. 

Even if you’re brushing and flossing correctly, you should still visit your dentist every six months to get plaque cleaned from hard to reach 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: