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How to Brush and Floss Properly?

Posted in General Dentistry

How to Brush Your Teeth?

If you are like me, a parent and or teacher taught you how to brush and floss your teeth many years ago. If that method is working, then don’t fix what isn’t broken. But if your brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and still getting cavities or gum issues then it might be your technique. So how does the Canadian Dental Association recommend you brush? There are five steps.

  1. Brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Direct the bristles to where your gums and teeth meet. Use a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. Don’t scrub. Gums that recede visibly are often a result of years of brushing too hard.
  2. Clean every surface of every tooth. The chewing surface, the cheek side, and the tongue side.
  3. Don’t rush your brush. A thorough brushing should take at least two to three minutes. Try timing yourself.
  4. Change your usual brushing pattern. Most people brush their teeth the same way all the time. That means they miss the same spots all the time. Try reversing your usual pattern.
  5. Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. The right toothbrush cleans better. Choose a size and shape that allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth. There are many different types of brushes, so ask your dentist to suggest the best one for you. CDA recommends you replace your toothbrush every three months.

*These 5 steps are directly quoted from the Canadian Dental Association.

How to Floss Your Teeth?

Flossing is an essential step to a healthy mouth. If you don’t floss, you can be missing 1/3 of your tooth surface. There are many alternatives to flossing if you don’t like the traditional floss. See our post “Alternatives to Flossing.” For best flossing technique here is how the Canadian Dental Association says to floss in 3 easy steps.

  1. Take a length of floss about as long as your arm. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands. Use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth.
  2. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.
  3. Floss both sides of every tooth. Don’t forget the backs of your last molars. Move to a new part of the floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

*These 5 steps are directly quoted from the Canadian Dental Association.

Trouble with brushing or flossing?

As we get older or if we have a debilitating health issue, we may struggle with the fine motor skills needed for brushing or flossing. The CDA recommends enlarging the handle of your toothbrush with foam and tape. If flossing is too difficult, try alternatives like dental tape that is wider and easier to hold on to.

Talk to your dentist (Dr. Stephen Mathews, Erbsville Dental, Waterloo) for advice if you are having any issues.