Brushing and flossing teeth are the first two rules of dental care. We learn this from the time we are old enough to have teeth. Perio.org states that brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Some people prefer to brush first, then floss. Others like to floss, then brush. The ones who like to brush first say that they like to loosen food particles with their brush, and floss whatever is left behind. The ones who like to floss first say they like to floss tooth debris loose, then brush it away.
But does it matter which one we do first?
Both can help prevent cavities and gingivitis, and help maintain a healthy mouth. But according to the American Dental Association, it doesn’t matter which you do first, as long as you do them thoroughly. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a long time doing either of them. About two minutes each will do. Doing both properly is more important than the length of time you spend doing them.
THE BEST WAY TO BRUSH
Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to brush your teeth. Children need extra help in mastering this skill, so teach them how by brushing your teeth with them and explaining what you’re doing and why you’re doing it:
1. Hold brush at 45 degree angle at the gum when brushing the front of the teeth.
2. Move the brush up and down gently.
3. Brush the outside, inside, and behind the teeth—all surfaces, nooks, and crannies.
4. Use the right size brush for your mouth.
5. Use a soft or medium-soft brush, and don’t brush too hard.
6. Use fluoride toothpaste.
7. Change out toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles wear out.
THE BEST WAY TO FLOSS
All dental floss is not created equal. There are several kinds to choose from—from waxed, to un-waxed, to nylon, to monofilament, to flavored, to un-flavored. But you have to floss, because it removes food particles that brushing leaves behind—between teeth and under the gum line.
The important thing to remember when it comes to flossing is to never re-use your floss, because you can re-introduce bacteria back into the teeth and gums, and this defeats your purpose. Always use fresh floss.
Review this checklist to see if you’re flossing the right way:
1. Use about 18 inches of floss each time. Wind each end around your middle fingers, leaving about an inch or two in the middle to do the actual flossing between the teeth.
2. Make sure the floss is tight between your fingers, not loose, then slide up and down between each tooth in a gentle motion.
3. When you get to the base of the tooth, curve it around the base and against the gum line, but don’t force it or you can damage the delicate gum tissue.
4. Each tooth needs a clean section of floss. This is why you use 18 inches. Never use used floss.
5. When finished flossing, use the same flossing motion to bring the string upward and out of the crevasse between the teeth.
Brushing and flossing are important parts of good dental hygiene, but if you’re facing a problem with your teeth and gums that needs specialized care, you may want to consider contacting Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS. He’s a Board-Certified Periodontist whose expertise and experience lies in implants, Oral and gum care. Recently noted in the media, his offices of Implants & Gumcare can be found in two locations: Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX. Check out his patients' reviews found all over the social media.
Dr. Vadivel’s primary concern is you. He wants to ensure that your implant and gum care treatment is as comfortable and painless as can be. Dental work can be a daunting prospect for some potential patients, so his approach and philosophy puts the patient first throughout the entire process.
If you think you need dental implants or surgery, don’t put it off any longer. It’s never too late to ask questions or seek help. Your teeth are more than just cosmetic. Their health can impact the rest of your wellbeing.
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