Bacteria, plaque, tartar, and tooth decay are a problem shared by many. In some instances, deteriorated oral health is simply a result of a lack of oral hygiene habits. Despite many urgings to the contrary, there are people who fail to brush and floss regularly or see a dentist for routine exams and cleanings. However, a great many patients who experience oral health problems are those who do brush and floss daily. The problem is that many people are not brushing or flossing correctly. As a part of Dr. Bruce J. Wilderman’s general dentistry services to maintain good oral health, he teaches his Philadelphia patients proper brushing and flossing techniques. By using correct and effective techniques, patients can ensure that they are getting the most from their oral hygiene routine.
Tips for Proper Brushing
Any patient who brushes the teeth at least twice daily will gain some oral health benefits. However, if a patient is using incorrect techniques, the brushing will not be as effective and health benefits will not be as great. Below are some tips that will improve brushing techniques and help in the maintenance of good oral health:
- Don’t rush: Timing is important. It is recommended that patients brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. This ensures that there is enough time to brush all the teeth and to reach all surfaces of each tooth.
- Move the toothbrush: A toothbrush is designed to fit comfortably in the mouth and is really only able to clean a couple of teeth at a time. For this reason, it is important to move the toothbrush around frequently while brushing to ensure that all teeth are cleaned.
- Brush all surfaces: It is important to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the facial front of the teeth, the back of the teeth, and the biting surface of the tooth. Patients should also be sure to brush the top of the tooth at the gum line. Don’t forget the tongue as well, as this is an ideal place for bacteria to collect.
- Use proper pressure: The pressure used while brushing should be just enough that the bristles can be felt brushing against the teeth and gums. Pressure should not be so hard that the bristles or compacted or that pain is felt. Too much pressure can actually be damaging to tooth enamel.
Proper Flossing Techniques
Many patients fail to regularly floss, but this habit is extremely important to good oral health. Floss helps patients to eliminate food particles that are trapped between the teeth and can clean areas of the teeth and gums that are not reached with a toothbrush. Below are tips to ensure proper flossing techniques:
- Use plenty of floss: It is important to get a good length of floss so that it can be wrapped around the fingers and held firmly. Patients should use about 18 inches of floss and should keep at least an inch of floss between the fingers for cleaning the teeth.
- Get to the gum line: Using a sawing motion, patients should gently work floss between the teeth. It is important that patients don’t stop at the top of the teeth, near the gum line. Once the gum line is reached, the floss should be pushed gently against the tooth so that it hugs the top of the tooth and reaches beneath the gum line.
- Be persistent: Those who have not flossed regularly (or correctly) are likely to experience some discomfort or bleeding when flossing. These side effects should last no more than a week and the long-term benefits of flossing will be well worth this initial discomfort.
Proper brushing and flossing techniques are key to good oral health, but so is professional dental care. If you are in need of a dental exam and cleaning, contact us at your earliest convenience to set up an appointment with Dr. Bruce J. Wilderman. We look forward to helping you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile!