Are You Brushing and Flossing Correctly?

Jun 13, 2024
Are You Brushing and Flossing Correctly?
There's no way around brushing and flossing if you want to prevent cavities and gum disease. Yet, they don’t come with a guarantee. They can’t protect your teeth unless you brush and floss properly. Here’s what that means.

If your dental routine consists of quickly running a brush over your teeth as you rush to get ready in the morning or just before you fall into bed, there’s a good chance you’re not getting your teeth clean enough to prevent problems.

At Fremaux Dental Care, we’re passionate advocates of preventive dentistry. Dental checkups have a vital role in maintaining healthy teeth. However, preventing cavities and gum disease depends on each person’s daily dental hygiene and whether they brush and floss properly. 

The best way to know if you’re brushing and flossing correctly is to read the information below and compare your habits to the recommendations. 

Brush twice daily for two minutes

Everyone should brush their teeth twice daily. You should also brush for at least two minutes. If you haven’t paid attention to how long you brush or made the effort to brush long enough, chances are your routine lasts less than a minute.

Why is it important to brush for two minutes? Because plaque sticks to your teeth and is hard to remove. 

Briefly brushing leaves a substantial amount of plaque on your teeth. Brushing for two minutes ensures cleaner teeth and a lower risk of developing cavities.

No matter what toothpaste you prefer, be sure it contains fluoride. Fluoride reverses early tooth decay, strengthens the enamel, and helps prevent cavities.

Floss once daily

Flossing once daily is an essential part of your oral hygiene because brushing alone can’t remove small food particles and plaque between your teeth.

If you don’t like to use floss, you have options for cleaning between your teeth (interdental cleaning), such as:

  • Interdental brushes
  • Water flossing
  • Soft picks
  • Pre-threaded floss

We’re here to help if you have questions about interdental cleaning methods.

How to brush

The primary goal when brushing is to clean all the surfaces, including the front and back of your teeth and the chewing surfaces.

For the front side, place the brush at a 45° angle (halfway between horizontal and vertical) and move it back and forth. Tilt the brush vertically and use up and down strokes to get behind your teeth. Brush the chewing surfaces by placing the brush flat against the teeth.

How to floss

You slide the floss, pick, or brush between adjacent teeth and move it back and forth along each tooth. Water flossers do the work for you by sending a strong stream of water between your teeth.

Each water floss has instructions telling you how to use that particular device. For example, the instructions specify whether you should hold it at an angle.

It doesn’t matter when you floss. Whether you prefer morning, evening, or before or after a meal, it’s important to be sure you floss every day.

Four essential brushing tips

Brushing properly is the foundation of good dental health, but we have four additional tips:

Wait 30 minutes after eating

Brushing your teeth after eating is a great habit. However, you should never brush as soon as you finish your meal.

Many foods and beverages contain acids that erode tooth enamel. Brushing right away only rubs the acids into your teeth. Waiting 30 minutes gives your saliva time to flush acids away from your teeth.

Use a soft brush and be gentle

Using a gentle touch and a brush with soft bristles cleans your teeth without potentially causing harm. Hard bristles and vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel and irritate your gums.

Replace your brush regularly

Get a new toothbrush every three or four months or when the bristles become frayed. A worn brush can’t properly clean your teeth.

Don’t forget your tongue

Bacteria and food particles cling to the textured surfaces of your tongue. You need to use a toothbrush or tongue cleaner to eliminate bacteria because they create a film that allows them to stick to your tongue.

Call Fremaux Dental Care if you have questions about daily dental hygiene or need to schedule a dental exam and cleaning