Proper brushing and flossing techniques help minimize the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the latter of which is the major cause of tooth loss. Be sure to follow any special home-care instructions provided by your dental professional. In general, the following steps will help to ensure proper technique and optimal results.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and food particles.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months.
- On outer and inner tooth surfaces, brush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline in short, half-tooth-wide strokes.
- On chewing surfaces, hold the brush flat and brush in a back-and-forth motion.
- On inside surfaces of front teeth, tilt brush vertically and use gentle up and down strokes with the toe of the brush.
- Brush the tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and freshen your mouth.
- Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between teeth and below the gumline.
- Wrap an 18-inch strand of dental floss around your middle fingers, and hold a one-inch section tightly.
- Ease the floss between teeth, cleaning up and down several times while curving around teeth at the gumline. Unwind clean floss as you proceed around the arch.
- Remember to floss behind the last tooth.
- Floss around the abutment teeth of a bridge and under artificial teeth using a floss threader.
- You may experience sore or bleeding gums for the first several days of flossing. If bleeding continues after the first week, call your dental professional. If you have trouble handling floss, ask your dentist about the use of a floss holder or other interdental cleaning aids.