When it comes to your oral health, nothing is more important than proper brushing and flossing. But you may be a bit confused about whether or not you’re doing it correctly. And for good reason: many people tend to skip some of the most important parts of taking care of their teeth.
Taking proper care of your teeth is essential, because failure to do so leaves you vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. That can lead to cavities and expensive dental restoration procedures. Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about how to make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly.
Proper brushing techniques
You may think you’re brushing your teeth correctly. But are you certain that you are?
First of all, you should brush your teeth twice a day, every day. Each time you brush, you should do so for at least two minutes. You can use a timer if it helps.
If you use an electric toothbrush, it will have an automatic timer to let you know how long you’ve been brushing. It will also let you know when two minutes have passed.
If you use a manual toothbrush, the American Dental Association recommends you use one with soft bristles. Use a brush with a small head, too, so you can reach all of your teeth to remove debris and plaque.
You can use your choice of any ADA-approved toothpaste. You can select varieties for extra whitening or even for improving sensitivity. If you need help choosing a toothpaste that’s right for your needs, ask your hygienist.
However, you should wait for at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks like orange juice before brushing your teeth.
In addition, you should make sure that you don’t brush your teeth too hard; you can wear away the enamel. Brush in a circular manner all the way down to your gums, using light pressure.
Proper flossing techniques
Flossing your teeth is another important part of oral hygiene. But it’s a step that often gets skipped. A national poll found that only 4 out of 10 Americans floss their teeth at least once a day — and 20% never floss at all!
Flossing your teeth is essential because it helps remove plaque from between your teeth. You need to make sure that the floss goes up and down between your teeth. You also need to form a C-shape with the floss to make sure it can enter the space between your teeth and gums.
When you should floss
Many people think it doesn’t matter when you floss, as long as you do. But that’s actually not quite true. If you floss before brushing your teeth, the fluoride from the toothpaste has a better chance of protecting your teeth.
Flossing first also helps to remove the plaque and food particles from your teeth, while brushing afterward removes those particles.
Another point is you don’t want to floss in a back-and-forth, sawing type of motion. Flossing in this manner can actually damage your teeth. You can also accidentally cut into your gum, causing a soft tissue wound.
It doesn’t matter if you use dental floss, dental tape, or super floss (which works to get under bridges, gaps, or braces). You can even use disposable floss picks or water flossers.
Proper brushing and flossing are important parts of oral hygiene. You should also keep up with regular professional dental exams and cleanings. If you need to schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning, call Sokoly Dental at 202-280-2428 today, or request an appointment online.