The Right Techniques for Brushing and Flossing

In dentistry as in every other aspect of your health, prevention is the best medicine. Brushing your teeth after meals and flossing every day are critical for maintaining your oral health and lowering your risk of cavities and gum disease. 

Brush and floss properly, you help to clear away food particles and bacteria that can linger and eventually develop into tartar and plaque. Our team of dentists and hygienists offer a range of general and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in greater Asheville, North Carolina.

The right techniques for brushing and flossing

You might brush and floss your teeth on autopilot, without giving much thought to technique. But using the right technique is as important as the act of brushing and flossing. This is especially true if you have higher risk factors for gum disease like smoking, age, family history, and underlying health problems that affect oral health.

Instead of brushing your teeth using wide horizontal strokes, we recommend positioning your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and using shorter strokes. But brushing the front of your teeth and the chewing surface of the molars is just the beginning. 

We also recommend that you brush the back of your front teeth, using a vertical motion. Try to brush at least twice a day to lower the risk that bacteria has a chance to solidify into plaque and tartar, and brush for at least two minutes to get a thorough clean. 

Keep an eye on the bristles on your toothbrush, and replace old toothbrushes every 3-4 months or when the bristles start to look worn.

How to floss

Brushing your teeth twice a day with the right technique is the first step in a good oral hygiene routine. We recommend flossing once a day to remove food particles and bacteria that the bristles on your toothbrush can’t reach.

Take your time when flossing and use gentle up and down motions to protect your gums. To get started, break off 18-24 inches of floss and wrap the ends of the floss between your thumb and index finger (or whatever feels most comfortable for you).

Using a gentle but firm up and down motion, guiding the floss between each tooth up to the gum line. Clean both sides of each tooth and the backs of your last molars.

The combination of a good oral hygiene routine, healthy diet, and regular dental exams and professional teeth cleanings will dramatically lower your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease in the future. 

If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning, schedule an appointment as soon as possible to get your oral health back on track.

For more information about our preventive dentistry services and the best way to protect your teeth and gums from oral health problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Asheville, North Carolina.