How should I brush and floss my teeth? Burlington ON dental team discusses why technique matters
As your gatekeeper to oral health and wellness, Mount Royal Dental is there for you and your family. While we can’t physically be with you whenever you brush, floss or otherwise clean your teeth, the dental team empowers patients with practical information on great home care. So, we’re there by your side in spirit!
The foundation for great home care is built on brushing and flossing. While this backbone of oral health may seem straightforward, there is a right way to brush and floss.
Just how should I brush and floss my teeth? We’re glad you asked! We’ve provided a handy list of suggestions to maximise your time at the bathroom sink. After all, you’re already brushing and flossing, right? Make sure your technique is effective to keep the decay away and, along with it, to avoid the procedures that add up to time in the dentist’s chair (and money!).
Brush and floss. Every day.
The destructive plaque that inflames soft tissues and eats away at your teeth, hardens every 24 to 48 hours. Stubborn tartar or calculus can only be removed at the dentist’s office, by our skilled hygienists, and with specialised tools. Since plaque is constantly flourishing in your mouth, it’s important to brush and floss consistently. It’s generally recommended that you brush at least two times every day. Floss at least once a day. Brushing alone only removes bacteria and plaque from around two-thirds of every tooth. A lot of germs are left behind, that would otherwise be “captured” with a strand of floss.
Take your time.
Don’t rush brushing and flossing. It’s generally advised to brush for at least two minutes each time. Move the brush back-and-forth in short strokes, covering the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Tilt the brush so you can make several up-and-down strokes to clean the inside of each of the front teeth properly. The same diligence applies to dental floss; take great care to floss both sides of the tooth, as well as behind and around the molars or back teeth that are most susceptible to decay. Spend a couple of seconds flossing on each side of every tooth. If only your wisdom teeth have been extracted, that adds up to 28 teeth, or a total recommended flossing time of two minutes – the same amount of time that should be spent on brushing.
Use the right products.
The Mount Royal Dental team is happy to recommend the right toothbrush or floss for your needs. It’s important to use a soft-bristled brush that is the right size and shape for your mouth, so it can adequately reach those tough, bacteria-harbouring spaces. The right floss is important because using toothpicks and their ilk can damage or irritate your gums and pieces may even break off and become stuck.
There are a multitude of healthy options to meet our diverse patient needs:
- Super floss is stiff and yarn-like, a great option for braces- and bridges-wearers
- Waxed and unwaxed dental tape comfortably and effectively cleans between gaps
- Disposable flossers or picks are handy for kids, or for those who have a hard time cleaning appropriately with long strands of floss
By the way, you do need to use at least an 18-inch piece of floss each time. Why? Each time you clean a new tooth, you need to use a fresh segment of floss. Otherwise, you’re just removing bacteria from one tooth and relocating it to another tooth.
Harder brushing and flossing do not equate to better brushing and flossing. In fact, aggressively brushing your teeth or snapping floss between your gums can cause damage, including increased sensitivity, enamel erosion, and gum recession. Gently guide the floss and brush between and against the teeth and gum surfaces, and under the gumline. As it relates to brushing, don’t forget to clean those areas of the mouth that tend to attract harmful bacteria and cause bad breath (such as the tongue and the roof of the mouth).
A few more tips to chew on.
- Get a new brush every three to six months, or sooner if the brush appears frayed or otherwise worn. Prematurely frayed brushes may also be a sign of heavy-handed brushing!
- Great oral hygiene is complemented best with a nutritious diet, low in sticky starches and destructive sugars.
- Pair proper brushing and flossing with professional cleanings at Mount Royal Dental.
If you’re due for your next cleaning and perio-maintenance appointment, call us at (905) 581-9912.