Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth the Right Way

By now, most people know that they key to maintaining their oral health is to brush and floss regularly.  However, just brushing and flossing is not enough if a person isn’t doing correctly. Many individuals may think that they are doing right by their teeth, but may be surprised to learn that their so-called “good” habits, are actually damaging their dental health.

For example, brushing too hard can lead to enamel and gum erosion, damaging the teeth. The same is true of brushing immediately after a meal, especially a person eats or drinks something acidic, such as a soda. People should brush 30 minutes after a meal, to remove leftover food particles without eroding enamel.

Here are some brushing and flossing techniques that will help you ensure you are performing these daily tasks correctly:

Brushing technique

  •  The head of your toothbrush should be placed beside the teeth, and the tips of the bristles placed at a 45-degree-angle to the gum line.
  • Move the toothbrush back and forth, using short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot.
  • Keep the bristles angled against the gum line, while you brush both the inner and outer surfaces of each tooth.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces straight on.
  • Clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making several up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush.
  • Finish by brushing your tongue, which helps remove bacteria from your mouth.

Flossing technique

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the other hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes used.
  • Hold the floss tightly (without any slack) between your two hands, with about an inch of floss between them. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle sawing motion.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against the tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance.
  • Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum.
  • Repeat this technique on all of your teeth, including the teeth in back.


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