Chances are your parents taught you how to brush and floss your teeth when you were a child. But maybe that’s the last time anyone talked to you about how to brush and floss.
It’s worth taking another look to make sure you’re doing both properly, though. If you aren’t, you could be putting your oral health at risk.
At Smile Design Manhattan in New York City’s Midtown West neighborhood, we see the results of bad brushing and flossing every day. So we want to encourage you to brush and floss correctly. Here’s how.
Why are brushing and flossing important?
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once. The idea is to prevent food, bacteria, and plaque from building up in your mouth and leading to decay, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, and more.
If you develop an infection in your mouth, it can get into your bloodstream and spread to other areas of your body, putting your overall health at risk.
How should you brush properly?
The ADA recommends brushing for two minutes at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Put the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and use short strokes to brush back and forth.
Make sure to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. To get behind your front teeth, you can turn your toothbrush vertically and make up-and-down strokes.
Also, brush along your gum line to clear away any bacteria and debris, and brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria that can lead to bad breath. Reach into the back corners of your mouth with your toothbrush to free any food trapped in a small space.
How should you floss properly?
Your toothbrush can’t reach between teeth, so you must floss at least once a day to free any food particles or bacteria stuck in those tiny spaces.
Get a length of floss about 18 inches long that you can wrap it around your index fingers, leaving a couple of inches of free space.
Slide the floss in between your teeth, making a letter “C” around each tooth and sliding it up and down all the way to the gums. If you’re just starting to floss (or haven’t done it for a long time), your gums may bleed for a few days — this is normal, and it eventually stops.
After you floss between a couple of sets of teeth, switch to a fresh spot along the floss string so you don’t transfer bacteria or germs from the floss to other areas of your mouth. Continue until you have flossed between all your teeth.
Even with regular brushing and flossing using proper technique, you still need regular professional cleanings to maintain your oral health. To schedule your next cleaning, call the Smile Design Manhattan office today.