Brushing your teeth regularly is important to remove the bacteria that promotes tooth decay and the plaque that can cause gum disease. At a minimum, we recommend brushing every day before you go to bed but brushing after every meal helps eliminate the bacteria that attack your teeth.
Brush at a 45º angle by directing the bristles toward where your gums meet your teeth. Use a gentle circular motion up and down as you clean all three sides of every tooth. Don’t brush too hard as this can damage the enamel on your teeth. It should take two to three minutes to brush all of your teeth. Try alternating which side of your mouth you start from to ensure both sides get equal treatment.
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Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush: that fourth side that is between your teeth. Plaque is an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day and is the main cause of gum disease. Plaque quickly hardens into tartar which should only be removed by a professional. Flossing every day prevents this from happening.
Start by taking a length of floss equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder. Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches of floss between your hands.
Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from the base to the tip 2-3 times. Repeat for the sides of each tooth, including the back of the end molars.
Go to a new section of floss as it wears and picks up particles. Dispose of used floss in the garbage, not the toilet where it can cause clogs.
Sometimes gums bleed when you first begin flossing. This should stop after a few days of consistent flossing. Let your dentist or hygienist know if the bleeding persists beyond a week. Your dentist can also recommend special flosses or tapes for tight spaces.
Flossing before you brush can help loosen bacteria that can be brushed and rinsed away.