Two questions our patients frequently ask us is what is the right way to brush their teeth and floss in between their regular bi-annual visits to our Thunder Bay dental clinic. People and children brush their teeth using different methods and motions, from circular motions to simply brushing back and forth. Both methods and motions are beneficial when done correctly.
Where many people fall short is the amount of time they devote to brushing their teeth. Some people only brush once a day, so if you are currently doing this, the first thing you need to do is to start brushing at twice a day – in the mornings after waking up and in the evenings before going to bed. When you only brush once a day, it leaves plaque on the teeth that starts to cause tooth decay, even while you are sleeping!
While brushing it helps to use a timer, like the one on your smartphone, and set it for 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Next, section your teeth into four quadrants, similar to what we do when cleaning your teeth during your visits – upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. You should spend 30 seconds brushing each quadrant thoroughly to ensure plaque is actually being removed.
If you spend longer on each quadrant, that is okay too, especially while you are changing your brushing habits. You want to brush the fronts and backs of teeth and remember to brush gently along the gum line. If you are finding 30 seconds seems like “forever,” try turning on your favourite song while brushing your teeth to help pass the time.
After you finish brushing each of the four quadrants, spend another 30 seconds brushing the tops of the teeth – the flat parts we use to bite down on food. Lastly, gently brush your tongue for 15 seconds to help remove plaque-causing bacteria and give you fresher breath.
Make sure to rinse your teeth with fresh water and “swish” it around for several seconds. It is also helpful to rinse two or three times to make sure all loose plaque and food particles are fully washed away.
With flossing, choose a flossing product you find easy to use – whether it is loose floss or pre-threaded flossers. Again, break the teeth down into the four quadrants and floss each one. Gently move the floss back and forth to get in-between the teeth and remove food particles and plaque. Avoid using excess pressure as you could cut into the gum tissue.
Use a new piece of floss for each quadrant. Otherwise, you are just transferring plaque and food particles from one area of the teeth to another. After you finishing flossing, rinse your mouth again and “swish” the water around. Lastly, you can use a mouth wash, like one that helps control plaque, reduces the risks of gingivitis, or fights chronic bad breath.
If you are not sure what type of toothbrush, toothpaste, or mouthwash you should be using, we would be more than happy to make a recommendation. Feel free to contact Oasis Family Dental at (807) 623-2662 to schedule an appointment today!