Brush twice. Floss once. These are the daily recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA) for taking care of your teeth. However, if you’re not doing the proper techniques when brushing or flossing, you may be doing more harm than good to your teeth!
Check out the steps below to make sure you are getting the most out of your oral health care routine.
How to brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but having the proper technique is just as crucial. First, let’s cover the basics with the materials you need for a good oral health routine.
Must-have oral health materials:
- A toothbrush that is ADA approved
- Fluoride toothpaste
Now that we have our materials, here is a step-by-step process of brushing your teeth.
- Splash some water on your toothbrush.
- Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush.
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
- Insert the toothbrush into your mouth and begin gently brushing back and forth on each tooth. During these two minutes of brushing, you should spend about 30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of your mouth.
- Repeat this process twice a day.
Brushing for two minutes might seem like an eternity, but it’s important to make sure each tooth is cleaned correctly.
Replacing your toothbrush
Replacing your toothbrush regularly is important. If you don’t replace your toothbrush, it becomes useless for cleaning your teeth and gums. Try to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months.
Check out this blog to learn more about the difference between a standard toothbrush and an electric toothbrush.
How to floss
Flossing helps clean parts of your teeth and mouth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Therefore, it’s important to floss once a day.
Here are some tips and techniques to make sure you are flossing the right way.
- Use about 18 inches of floss.
- Wrap the floss around one of your middle fingers, with the rest of the floss wrapped around your other middle finger.
- Wrap the floss until you create about a 1-inch gap with the floss tightly held between your thumbs and pointer fingers.
- Gently slide the floss between your teeth – curving it in a C-shape around each tooth.
- Adjust the floss before moving on to the next tooth, so the following tooth gets a fresh clean.
- Repeat this process once a day on every tooth in your mouth.
Dentists recommend two different types of floss: waxed floss and dental tape. Waxed floss gets into tight, hard-to-reach areas whereas dental tape helps cover larger areas between teeth. Click here for more information on what type of floss fits your needs.
Flossing shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. Make sure that you don’t floss too hard and use new floss every time you clean your teeth.
Proper brushing and flossing protect your teeth
Although it might seem like a good idea to brush your teeth aggressively, harsh brushing can cause the tooth enamel to wear down and the gums to recede. This can lead to problems for your oral health. Remember to be gentle, yet firm while brushing your teeth.
When it comes to flossing, it’s important to take note of any bleeding. Some bleeding is normal and can be a sign that you need to floss more often. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop or if you bleed every time you floss it could be a sign of a more serious problem like gum disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you are concerned.
Even if you’re brushing and flossing correctly it’s important to still visit your dentist every six months. Your dentist can still get to plaque in unreachable places and check for signs of cavities, tooth decay, and oral cancer.
*Updated November 2023