• Keeping your teeth healthy means having regular check-ups, and brushing and flossing on a daily basis, twice a day. But how do we make sure that when we brush and floss, that we are doing it the right way? 
  • If you want to get the most benefit out of brushing and flossing your teeth, you have to do it the correct way. That means having the right tools and knowing the right techniques to ensure a clean and healthy smile. Your toothbrush should be easy to hold and comfortable in your hand. It should have soft, rounded bristles. You should replace your toothbrush every 2 or 3 months, or if the bristles are worn out, but if they are wearing out faster than that, you might be brushing too hard. You need to make sure that your toothpaste contains an ingredient called fluoride. It’s naturally occurring in some waters and you can get it as a supplement, but your teeth need fluoride to be healthy and strong. As for floss, you can use any kind you like. Some people prefer picks or sticks because they are easier to hold and maneuver, but regular floss works just fine as well. 
  • Your toothbrush shouldn’t have too much toothpaste on it, but enough to go over all of your tooth surfaces. You need to hold it at a 45-degree angle to your gum line and use just enough pressure that you can feel the bristles against your gums and between your teeth. Don’t push down so hard with so much pressure that the bristles fray outward, you don’t want to wear down on that hard enamel surface! You should go over your inner and outer tooth surfaces multiple times with short, circular movements and a back and forth scrubbing motion. Be sure to get up along your gum line as well, as plaque can hide underneath it against the tooth’s surface. 
  • You should brush your chewing surface as well straight on with that same scrubbing motion. To get at the inside surfaces of the front teeth, turn your toothbrush up vertically and make upward and downward strokes with the very front bristles of the brush. 
  • Your toothbrush can only get to one or two teeth at a time so be absolutely sure to move it frequently to get all of your teeth and make sure that you brush for at least two minutes to get the full effect. Watch yourself in the mirror to see how you are doing and to make sure you don’t miss any teeth. After you are done brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue too! Bacteria can hide in the tiny grooves and taste buds and build up, causing infection, cavities, and bad breath. Rinse the toothpaste out of your mouth with water thoroughly and then you can start on flossing. 
  • To floss, glide the floss strand between your teeth with a sawing motion. You will feel resistance when you get close to your gum line so curve the floss around your tooth to get below the gum line. If you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums may bleed and become irritated. But don’t worry! After 5-7 days of regular flossing, you will remove all of the bacteria and your gums will adjust. 
  • Rinse out your mouth again to remove any lingering bacteria or plaque and you are good to go! Don’t forget about twice yearly check-ups to see how you are doing!

 

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