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Am I Brushing and Flossing Correctly?

Am I Brushing and Flossing Correctly?

No one wants to get a filling, let alone a root canal. Fortunately, you already have tools at home that can help you avoid that unwelcome trip to our office. With a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, you can go a long way toward preventing tooth decay.

The trick, of course, is knowing how to properly use those tools. So, in this article, we wanted to build a guide to help. When paired with periodic preventive dental care at our Advanced Dental Care of East Texas office in Jasper, Texas, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Let’s get to it. Here’s your guide to brushing and flossing from Eric R. Koch, DDS

How to floss

Many people brush, then floss, but you should actually reverse the order. That way, anything you remove from between your teeth during flossing gets carried away by your toothbrush. 

Get about 18 inches of floss. Wind it around your middle finger. Spacing it evenly and avoid overlapping sections to prevent your finger from taking too much pressure in any one area. 

Using your other hand, bring tension to the floss. Some people wrap the floss around a finger on the other hand, while others simply hold it. Find what works best for you. 

Gently guide the floss between your teeth. Curve it along one side of the tooth, making a C shape, and move it up and down a few times. Then, curve it in the other direction and clean the side of the other tooth. Repeat this between all of your teeth. When you get to your back molars, make a C shape around the back of the molar.

Floss once a day. Some people find it easiest to keep floss in the shower. 

How to brush

First, get a soft-bristled toothbrush. Anything firmer can irritate your gums and even cause gum recession. Grab a fluoridated, ADA-accepted toothpaste, too. 

Then, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Your goal is to clear plaque from your teeth and gums, not just your teeth. Use short strokes to gently brush every surface of each tooth, along with your gums. To get the backs of your front teeth, you’ll likely need to tilt your toothbrush vertically. 

While you’re at it, brush your tongue, too. That eliminates bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay, gum problems, and bad breath. 

Brush for two minutes twice a day. If you want some visual guidance, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a handy one-minute YouTube video

Replace your toothbrush at least three times a year. If you notice fraying on the bristles, it’s time for a new one. 

If you have any questions or you want to schedule a professional teeth cleaning to pair with your at-home oral hygiene habits, call our office or book your visit online today. 

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