The Basics of Brushing and Flossing

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Most of us feel pretty good about brushing and flossing. After all, given everything else that takes place during our day, taking care of our teeth is a no-brainer, right? Your toothbrush and your dental floss are not complex things. They don’t need to be tuned up, rebooted, or defragged. And, let’s be honest, to operate a toothbrush an dental floss, you need to know to processes: up and down, and left and right. The truth is that proper oral hygiene is a little more involved than “up and down” and “left and right”, with a little toothpaste thrown in.

First, make sure that you have the right toothbrush. While your toothbrush should be easy to grip, you need a head that is small enough to reach every part of your mouth. Second, your toothbrush should be no more than three months old. If you have had your toothbrush for more than three months, or if the bristles are worn or flattened, it is time to get a new toothbrush.

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, Brush your teeth in short strokes, brushing away from your gumline. Brush the fronts and backs of your teeth, but also remember to brush the biting and chewing surfaces.

When you floss, start with about 18 inches. Wrap most of it around each middle finger, leaving yourself about two inches of floss, which you should hold between your thumbs and forefingers. Start at the back of your mouth and work your way to the front. Curve the floss around each tooth, floss below the gumline, and then away from the gums. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth and dispose of the floss when you are done. It does not matter if you brush or floss first, as long as you do a careful job of both.

If you have questions about dental hygiene, or if it is just time for your routine, cleaning and exam, you can make an appointment with Dr. Joseph Neeley today, by calling Barton Oaks Dental Group in Austin, Texas, at 512-327-6947. We look forward to seeing you soon!