Brushing your teeth effectively takes time. A rush job might be more convenient, but you aren’t actually getting your teeth completely clean. It’s important to try to reach all surfaces of your teeth and gum line, otherwise plaque can build up and lead to some pretty serious issues.
How to Brush:
- With the toothbrush at a 45° angle, move it in a back and forth and circular motion around each tooth and the gum line.
- Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth in the same fashion.
- Use the tip of the brush to get the backs of your front teeth, top and bottom. Again, back and forth and circular motions.
- Brush your tongue with forward strokes (it isn’t necessary to scrub) to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Why should I floss?
Most people don’t floss their teeth, and by skipping this step they’re leaving up to 40% of the surface of their teeth uncleaned. A common misconception is that you floss to remove food from between your teeth. While this is the case, you’re also flossing to remove plaque that brushing didn’t reach. This plaque is what will cause tooth decay.
How to Floss:
- Using 18 to 24 inches of floss, wrap the ends around your index and middle fingers.
- Move the floss back and forth in a sawing motion and up and down against the side of each tooth. Never snap or force the floss between your teeth as this can hurt your gums.
- Make sure that you’re cleaning, not just between the teeth, but also right below the gumline as well.
Brushing and flossing twice a day are the absolute bare minimum of your oral health routine. If you’re looking to go above and beyond, here are a few extra tips to keep in mind;
- Rinsing with mouthwash after brushing and flossing can help remove additional plaque that wasn’t dislodged or that you couldn’t reach. It can also kill germs that cause bad breath.
- It’s recommended that you brush after meals, but if that isn’t possible chewing gum can help remove food particles from your mouth.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after exposure to acidic food and drinks. These can soften the enamel which increases the chance of erosion if you brush immediately after consumption. Drink or rinse with water immediately after eating, and then wait 30 minutes to brush.