Brushing and flossing are important parts of your daily routine. But to get the most benefit, you have to do it correctly.
Assemble your tools:
- An easy-to-wield toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. Replace when the bristles are worn — about every two months.
- Toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Floss: Any kind is fine; holders, picks or sticks can help. (Tip: If you don’t have a floss holder and have trouble holding on, try making a loop of floss by tying the ends of a 10-inch strand together.)
Seven steps for better brushing:
- Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gumline.
- Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. (Don’t squish the bristles.)
- Brush all inner and outer tooth surfaces several times, using short, circular strokes and a scrubbing motion. Be sure to brush along the gumline as well.
- Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush.
- Uour toothbrush can only clean one or two teeth at a time. Move your brush frequently to reach every tooth and make sure you brush for two minutes.
- Watch yourself in the mirror to make sure no tooth is left behind.
- After brushing teeth, remember to brush your tongue. Oral bacteria can remain in taste buds.
Five steps for fabulous flossing:
- Start with 18" of floss. Wind most of it around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the same finger on your other hand.
- Hold floss tightly with about 1" of floss between your hands. Glide floss between teeth with a gentle sawing motion.
- You’ll feel resistance when the floss reaches your gumline. Gently curve it into a C against your tooth.
- Hold the floss against each tooth, gently scraping the tooth’s side while moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on all teeth. (Don’t forget the very back ones.)
- Be brave! If you haven’t flossed recently, your gums may feel sore or bleed. Don’t worry: After 5-6 days, you’ll remove the built-up bacteria and your gums will feel great.