Brushing and FlossingTooth brushing and flossing not only effectively cleans the teeth on a daily basis, it fights tooth decay and bad breath, keeps your teeth vibrant and white and protects your gums as well against the harmful affects of gum disease.
BrushingOur mouths develop a colorless biofilm on the surfaces of teeth known as plaque. Plaque develops by attracting the bacteria, sugars and starches that we consume on a daily basis. When these elements combine they form an acid which works to effectively damage the tooth's enamel resulting in tooth decay. If left to develop, plaque can irritate the gums resulting in gingivitis and if not treated, gum disease and possible tooth loss.
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Brushing removes the plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, whereas flossing will prevent plaque from developing in between teeth. Both brushing and flossing are necessary in the fight against dental plaque.
Brush your teeth at least twice daily using back and forth strokes in a gentle motion. Do not brush too hard, as this can irritate the gums. Make sure to reach all surfaces of the teeth including the molars, back and front of each tooth and all biting surfaces. Brushing the tongue is crucial in removing bacteria and preventing bad breath. If brushing the tongue is too uncomfortable, try using a tongue scraper instead.
FlossingIs flossing really necessary? No, it isn't. You should only floss in between the teeth you would like to keep. Plaque and bacteria, if not removed with regular flossing can irritate the gums causing them to swell and bleed easily. The gums can begin to recede away from the teeth leaving the bone that supports the teeth vulnerable. Bacteria and pus-filled pockets can develop and this important supporting bone structure can be destroyed, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.
Check out our blog on 5 quick tips for flossing
Flossing is not hard, nor is it time consuming. Be sure to floss in between all your teeth at least once daily to protect and preserve your oral health. Tearing off a piece of floss that is comfortably long enough (about 18 inches) makes the process a lot easier. Grip the floss and gently insert it between your teeth. Don't snap the floss into the teeth as this can damage your gums. Gently move the floss back and forth against the sides of both adjacent teeth and underneath the gum line. Repeat this process for all your teeth. If you haven't flossed in a while, you may notice your gums bleeding a little. This is normal and will stop after a few sessions of flossing.
There are many different type of dental floss available on the market. Some flosses contain toothpaste and are softer than others for patients with sensitive gums. For patients who experience difficulty flossing, for example those with arthritis, dental flossers are available as they are easier to hold. Ask your dentist about which type of floss may be best suited for your needs.