If you are already brushing your teeth and flossing them regularly, you are well on your way to a healthy mouth. However, the techniques you use matter — you could be wasting the time you’re setting aside for brushing and flossing if you’re only going through the motions instead of being as effective and efficient as possible.

You are one of the best tools you have in your arsenal when it comes to preventing tooth decay, cavities, and infections in your mouth. Brushing and flossing the way you should is your best protection from issues between regular dental appointments.

How often should people brush and floss their teeth?

Most experts recommend that you brush your teeth twice per day — morning and evening. It is ideal to brush your teeth after you have eaten to clear away food particles and debris that can lead to tooth decay. With lunch eaten at work and school, however, it may be difficult or inconvenient to try to squeeze in a third daily brushing after that meal. We recommend rinsing with water in lieu of brushing — rinsing helps remove sugars and particles. Try to get in the habit of rinsing even after you eat a snack or a sugary drink or acidic beverage. Of course, the best thing to do is to try to limit your diet when it comes to those types of beverages — it’s better for your teeth.

You should floss every day, ideally before you brush your teeth. Flossing helps combat the buildup of plaque on your teeth, which could lead to tartar, cavities, and gum disease. Flossing also helps promote fresher breath.

Should people use regular toothbrushes or electric toothbrushes for the best results?

If you use the right brushing techniques, regular toothbrushes make the perfect defense against tooth decay. Electric toothbrushes come in handy when you might need to tempt a reluctant brusher in to taking proper care of their teeth, like in younger children. Another case where electric toothbrushes might be a good choice are when it is difficult for a person to move a manual toothbrush around their mouth to thoroughly brush their teeth, as in elderly individuals or people with limited mobility issues.

What is the best way to brush teeth?

You should use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it to give your enamel an added healthy boost. Plan on spending about two minutes brushing — time it using your watch or phone if you’re not sure how long your brushing routine lasts.

Hold your toothbrush at an angle against your gum line. Brush using a back and forth movement, making sure to target each tooth. Don’t forget to clean the inside surface of your teeth using the same movement, along with the part you use to bite and chew. Utilize the tip of the brush to get into hard-to-reach areas, ensuring you give the complete surface of each tooth a good brushing.

Make sure you include brushing your tongue in your tooth-brushing routine, as doing so regularly will help remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.

What are some tips to floss effectively?

Experts recommend using about 20 inches of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer and middle fingers of both hands. Hold the floss tightly in a curved shape around each tooth. Rock the floss up and down the sides of each tooth to dislodge food particles and stop the buildup of plaque on the surface of your teeth.

Are there alternatives to floss?

Flossing properly can take some practice, and it’s natural to feel a little frustrated when navigating the inches of floss through your teeth. If you continue to have trouble, talk with your dentist about the possibility of using one of several alternative products to traditional floss, including:

  • Disposable floss picks: Disposable floss picks have a short, y-shaped handle with a piece of floss strung between the ends, making it simple to navigate between your teeth.
  • Non-disposable floss picks: Multi-use non-disposable floss picks have a long handle and a floss head that you may replace after a certain period of use.
  • Interdental brushes: Interdental brushes are reusable, and work using a handle and a thin head for flossing.
  • Water picks: Water picks are devices that shoot thin streams of water between your teeth. They come in a variety of brands and styles of cleaning.
  • Dental picks: Dental picks are a little bit like interdental brushes in that they have rubber bristles that you can insert in between your teeth to clear food particles.

If you have questions about the techniques you need to be using when it comes to properly brushing and flossing your teeth, the team at Stiles Dental Care is here for you. Contact us to help schedule your consultation by visiting our webpage here.