Even though we’ve been brushing and flossing our teeth for years and years, many of us are surprised to learn that we’re not doing it properly. Case in point: Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes? Most adults do not come close to brushing that long.
These four steps are the best and easiest ways to help you remember how to care for your mouth, teeth and gums:
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, especially first thing in the morning and before bedtime!
- Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor causing bacteria!
- Floss every day!
- Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day – drink water or chew sugarless gum afterwards!
- Do not drink sodas, juice, or sports/vitamin drinks throughout the day. Continual exposure to the sugar and acids can cause cavities!
- Visit your dentist every six months for an oral exam and professional cleaning!
What is the Right Way to Floss?
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gum line and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:
- Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
- Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
- Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gum line. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
- Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
- To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth