While you may follow a regular brushing and flossing routine, you might not be going about it the right way. Incorrect brushing and flossing can be detrimental to your oral health and can result in various issues such as bad breath, a receding gum line, tooth decay, and tooth loss among many more.
Plaque is the leading cause of gum disease or “Gingivitis”. Plaque, an invisible film of bacteria, develops on your teeth each and every day. If left untreated, it begins to harden into tartar, which is only able to be removed by a professional cleaning. This is why it is important to floss daily, as it allows you to remove bacteria in-between teeth and underneath your gums that a toothbrush is unable to reach.
Take a length of floss about 18 inches long, or approximately the equal distance from your hand to your shoulder so you have a clean piece of floss to use on each tooth. Wrap it around the index and middle fingers and be sure to leave about two inches between your hands to use.
Slide the floss between two teeth and curve it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline as you pull it vertically up and down two to three times. Make sure to go to a new section of the floss as you continue- as it wears, it collects particles of debris
Don’t forget to floss the back sides of your last molars on both your upper and lower jaw. After you’re done flossing, make sure you ball it up and dispose of it in the trash- never flush floss down the toilet.
Contrary to popular belief, it is a more effective method to floss first, then brush your teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Who would’ve thought?
Step 1: Start with the outer and inner surfaces, and be sure to position the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle with the bristles facing upward. Using a gentle circular motion, brush your teeth and massage the gumline in short strokes. Be sure not to apply excessive pressure or scrub your teeth- this will result in a receding gum line over time.
Step 2: Continue onto the chewing and inside surfaces of your teeth. Hold the brush flat and swipe it along the top of the teeth and tilt the brush vertically to access the back of the teeth.
Step 3: Take your time, and don’t rush your brush! A proper brushing regime should last two to three minutes.
Step 4: Change and adapt your typical brushing pattern. Out of habit, people tend to keep to a set pattern and brush their teeth in the same way each time. This leaves certain areas of the mouth at risk to be missed most of the time.
Step 5: Be sure to brush your tongue – a back-to-front sweeping motion is the most effective way to remove food particles and help eliminate odour-causing bacteria.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to choose a toothbrush with a size and shape that allows you ro reach the very back of your teeth and optimize the cleaning surface. Harsher bristles equals a more abrasive brush. The harsher the bristles and the more aggressive the brushing- contrary to popular belief, does not make your teeth “cleaner”. All it does is brush away and recede the gum line as well as promote inflammation.
A proper brushing and flossing regime is the key to fighting plaque – and protecting your teeth and gums for a lifetime.