The Basics of Brushing and Flossing

March 23, 2011

I’m Dr. Brad Greenfield of Lake Orion Family Dentistry, and, as a family dentist, I do everything I can to keep your mouth healthy. I only see you every 6 months, though, so a huge portion on your dental health is a direct result of your own personal at-home dental hygiene habits.

Brushing and flossing are the best things you can do for your teeth between dental cleanings and check-ups, but simply going through the motions isn’t enough. Several factors go into brushing and flossing properly.

Brushing regularly is crucial to remove harmful bacteria that multiply and cause plaque buildup on and around your teeth. When combined with sugar, saliva, mucus, and food debris, plaque creates a strong acid substance that eats away protective tooth enamel to cause tooth decay. If left untreated, gum disease can occur and increase the risk of health problems like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Maintain good oral health by brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush, using the proper technique and quality fluoride toothpaste, and flossing carefully once a day.

Here area a few tips for proper brushing and flossing:

  • Choose a toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval
  • Spend at least 3 to 4 minutes brushing
  • Use a small, soft, angled toothbrush
  • Brush in circular motions across all tooth surfaces and the gum line
  • Cover 2 to 3 teeth at a time, applying gentle pressure
  • Brush (or scrape) your tongue to remove germs and bacteria
  • Rinse your mouth with water and spit out the debris
  • Be sure to floss right on the gum line (forming a “C” shape around the edge of each tooth with the floss)
  • Pull or push the floss against your gums carefully to avoid pain

Proper dental hygiene is easier than you think. Use these tips to build a routine for you and your family. Your mouth, and your overall health, will thank you. Contact my office in Lake Orion, Michigan, for more information or to make an appointment.

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