Many of us take for granted that we know how to properly brush and floss our teeth- we probably learned from our parents many years ago. But unless you had a parent who was a dentist or hygienist, you may not have learned the proper methods for optimum tooth cleaning. Simply running a toothbrush over your teeth with a quick swipe isn’t enough. To control tooth plaque between dental visits, you have to be thorough. Here are a few tips from the American Dental Association.
How to brush:
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, touching the gums.
- Move the brush back and forth in gentle strokes about as wide as a tooth.
- Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of all your teeth.
- Clean the inside of the font teeth with gentle up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria and improve your breath.
How to floss:
- Wind most of an 18-inch length of floss around a middle finger and the rest around the same finger of your other hand, which will take the floss as it gets used.
- Grasp the floss between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Pull the floss gently between your teeth.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, make a “C” shape against the tooth and slide the floss between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth, rubbing it up and down gently, away from the gum.
- Repeat this method on all your teeth.
Proper brushing and flossing aren’t just good for your teeth and gums- they seem to help the rest of your body too. Research shows that good oral hygiene is associated with a lower risk for heart disease and many other systemic diseases. While experts aren’t sure why, the key may be the sticky film of bacteria (plaque) that builds up on everyone’s teeth. Brushing and flossing daily will help to control that dangerous plaque accumulation.
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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.