What Is the Right Way to Brush? Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows: Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth Clean the chewing surfaces For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use? Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity. How
Important Is the Toothpaste I Use It is important that you use a toothpaste that’s right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.
How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush? You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to re-infection.
What Is the Right Way to Floss? Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline 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 gumline. 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.
There are two types of floss from which to choose: Nylon (or multifilament) floss PTFE (monofilament) floss Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris.