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Are You Hurting Your Gums When You Floss and Brush?

Get the Most Out of Your Brushing and Flossing With These Techniques

Every dental patient knows the number one recommendation made by their dentist to improve oral health would simply be, “brush your teeth.” “Floss your teeth” would be close behind. However, are you practicing the proper brushing and flossing techniques that can maximize your oral health? If not, you could be missing important areas or even hurting your dental health.

Tips for proper brushing are more numerous than you might think, but each step is important:

  • Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. Stiffer bristles don’t do a better job of brushing your teeth and may harm your gums. Replace it every 2-3 months, or when the bristles begin to fan.
  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Only brush 2-3 teeth at a time, being careful not to irritate the gum line.
  • Begin with outer and inner tooth surfaces, holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Work in short strokes parallel to the gum line and be sure to reach back teeth.
  • When brushing chewing surfaces, hold your brush flat and use short strokes back and forth. Again, make sure to reach your back teeth.
  • Be sure to brush the tongue from back to front. The tongue can harbor bacteria and food particles that contribute to tooth decay and odor.
  • Brush for two minutes twice a day, or after meals.

Flossing is an activity too many dental patients avoid, which can result in food and plaque buildup between the teeth. Follow these steps for a healthy flossing technique:

  • If using traditional floss, section off about 18 inches and wrap the ends around the pointer fingers for tautness, leaving about an inch between your fingers.
  • Use a new 1-inch section of your floss piece for each tooth.
  • Curve floss in a C-shape and use it to gently remove plaque and debris from the side of each tooth, working away from the gum.
  • Floss each tooth, all the way to the back of the mouth.

Ask your dentist or hygienist for more information about areas of your teeth you may be missing. Ballinger Family Dentistry is an Edmond OK dentist focused on your oral health. Contact us for an appointment today.