How often should I brush and floss?

Your Carmichael dentist answers the question of how often you should brush your teeth.

Answer: You should brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily and you need to floss daily to maintain optimal dental health.

While you can confidently trust the qualified team at Carmichael’s Marconi Dental Group to provide you with professional dental care, your home dental habits play a huge role in keeping a healthy smile. Your task is simple, it’s inexpensive, it takes just a few minutes a day and it will keep your teeth and gums healthy. You, and only you, can keep up the basic home dental care habits that are needed to preserve your teeth and gums.

Dental visits are not a substitute for daily oral maintenance. You, your toothbrush and dental floss are the primary defense against dental disease and decay. The first enemy of your teeth is plaque, a biofilm created by bacteria that feed on leftover food.  Acids created by these bacteria lead to enamel damage and tooth decay. Plaque forms and grows every day, eventually hardening to become tartar, which irritates the gums and allows bacteria to move towards the roots. Good daily dental habits are important to develop, because they prevent the buildup of this vicious cycle of tooth decay.

How to Brush Your Teeth

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an American Dental Association approved soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush gently using small, circular motions, touching the gums with the bristles.
  • Brush every surface of each tooth.
  • Brush your tongue – this removes additional bacteria and improves your breath.
  • Use a gentle massaging motion – this is not a war against your teeth with your toothbrush as the weapon!
  • Take a few minutes to do it right, without rushing, as technique is important.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended, since they remove plaque more efficiently when used according to specifications. Whichever brush you choose to use, ask us during your regular dental visit to critique your brushing method. There is a right way and a wrong way — we’re here to help you get this important dental task right.

You don’t need to floss all your teeth, only the ones you want to keep! — Famous Dental Proverb

Flossing Is Essential

Flossing daily is the best method for cleaning between teeth and under the gums. It removes trapped food particles, along with plaque, and disrupts bacterial colonies, saving your teeth, gums and bone. It also makes your regular dental cleanings much easier.

To floss properly you should:

  • Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently inserting it between teeth with a sawing motion.
  • Use a new section of floss for each quarter of your jaw. Floss is relatively inexpensive, so don’t be stingy with the amount you use.
  • Curve the floss around each tooth and under the gum line.
  • Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the sides of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended only if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Water flossing and interdental brushes are additional flossing options. Keeping and using all of the different types of flossing tools is not a bad idea.

Rinsing Your Teeth Completes the Job

Rinse your mouth with water after brushing to further disrupt bacteria and remove particles from your mouth. Over-the-counter mouthwashes and anti-plaque products for rinsing are beneficial; however, consult with the staff at the Marconi Dental Group on the type that’s right for you.

What If I Can’t Brush Right Now?

If you’re unable to brush after a meal, sugar-free chewing gum and rinsing are short-term stopgaps until you can brush your teeth properly. It’s a great idea to carry a travel toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you, or keep a dental kit at work. While you want to brush, floss and rinse at least twice a day, it doesn’t hurt to do it more often, especially after sugary or sticky snacks and meals. Again, just go easy on the vigorous brushing. Brush gently and as needed, because you can get too much of a good thing.

The caring professionals at the Marconi Dental Group are your partners in good dental health. But we need you to do your part with daily brushing, flossing and rinsing. So take those few minutes every day to properly care for your teeth and gums. A beautiful smile will be your lasting reward for time that was well spent.