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Dental Hygiene: The Proper Way to Brush and Floss

Mother, father and daughter brushing teeth in bathroom

Basic dental hygiene is the most important step in ensuring healthy teeth and gums. But it’s surprising how many people neglect their oral health

To help you keep your mouth healthy, you need to make sure you brush your teeth and gums the right way. This will help keep bacteria at bay and prevent the cavities and other problems that can cause toothache and damage your teeth’s appearance.

By learning the proper way to brush and floss, you can improve your dental hygiene and form better habits for life.

How to Brush Your Teeth

Learning the right technique for brushing your teeth will make brushing easier and help you get better results. More effective brushing results in having better dental hygiene. 

Let’s start with toothpaste. Using fluoride toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay by protecting the enamel of your teeth. Most kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, but you can also find a toothpaste that’s tailored to your specific dental concerns, such as sensitive or discolored teeth. You should only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste – there’s no need to cover the length of the brush. 

Your toothbrush should be aimed at a 45-degree angle. Use a gentle circular motion to brush your teeth, starting with the outside and then working on the inside. You shouldn’t need to brush for more than two minutes to do an effective job. 

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Most people brush their teeth twice a day for good dental hygiene. You should brush your teeth in the evening before bed and one other occasion during the day. Most people choose to brush their teeth first thing in the morning. 

Some people brush their teeth after every meal, but this could be preventing your mouth from doing its natural job. Your mouth produces saliva, which hardens your enamel after eating, protecting your teeth. If you insist on brushing after eating, you should wait at least 30 minutes to allow your mouth’s saliva to do its job. 

Chewing on sugar-free gum can help you keep your mouth feeling fresh and eliminate odors after eating.

Which Toothbrush is Best: Soft, Medium, or Firm? 

With so many different types of toothbrushes available, it can be difficult to choose the right one. When it comes to choosing which toothbrush is best, it can come down to your personal preference, as well as the condition of your teeth. But generally, a soft bristle toothbrush is better for your teeth and gums and oral hygiene.

The first choice you’ll need to make is whether or not you want a manual or an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can be more effective at removing plaque and can be gentler on your gums. As most feature a built-in timer, you won’t have to worry about overbrushing.

A manual toothbrush is by far the easiest and most affordable option, but then you’ll need to choose between a soft, medium or firm type of bristle. A soft-bristled toothbrush is ideal for your teeth, helping to remove plaque without being too harsh on your gums.

If you have sensitive teeth or problems with your gums, you should avoid a firm toothbrush to avoid causing further damage.

How to Floss Your Teeth 

Flossing is another important element of your dental hygiene. While most people brush their teeth twice a day, the same can’t be said for flossing. Flossing helps to dislodge food trapped between teeth, as well as remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas. It should be a daily part of your dental care.

There are various types of dental floss out there, including electric air flossers. While any type of floss can be effective, you may have a personal preference about which one to use. Waxed floss can glide between teeth easier, while there are toughened types of floss for those with braces, bridges or implants.

To use floss effectively:

  • Use around 18 inches of floss, ensuring you have an inch or two either side of your fingers. 
  • After pulling the floss taut, place the floss between two teeth. 
  • Gently glide the floss up down, ensuring you floss the sides of each tooth.
  • Avoid flossing into your gums, as this can cause damage. Instead, curve the floss at the bottom of your tooth to help you access the gap between your teeth and gums.
  • Repeat on each tooth, making sure you use a clean section of floss each time.

Avoid These Brushing and Flossing Mistakes

Brushing your teeth is part of your daily routine, a habit that you don’t give much thought to. But could you be making a mistake with your brushing that could have a negative impact on your dental hygiene? Some common brushing and flossing mistakes to avoid include:

  • Don’t use a toothbrush that’s too firm – the bristles need to be soft enough to reach tricky areas.
  • Don’t rush brushing – aim for two minutes.
  • Don’t brush too roughly, this can cause bleeding and damage to your teeth and gums.
  • Don’t forget to change your toothbrush regularly – you should aim to change it every three months.
  • Don’t neglect your gumline – this is where a lot of bacteria can live.
  • Don’t do half a job – the more effective your brushing, the healthier your teeth will be.

See Your Dentist Regularly 

Brushing and flossing the right way can help you take care of your teeth at home, but making a regular appointment with your dentist is important for keeping up with your overall oral hygiene and make sure that everything is ok. 

Your dentist will be able to advise you on the effectiveness of your brushing and give you advice on how to improve your oral care. Cavities and other problems can be difficult to see yourself, but your dentist will be able to help keep your teeth and gums in great shape.At Lexington Family Smiles, we know how important it is to take care of your teeth. When you pay us a visit, we’ll be more than happy to advise on the proper way to brush and floss to boost your dental hygiene. Contact us to request an appointment and let us help you enjoy great oral care for a winning smile you can’t help but show off.