Simple Steps to Avoiding Problems with Your Teeth

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Regular Brushing and Flossing Can Reduce Oral Health Problems

It is well established that regularly brushing and flossing your teeth provides an array of oral health benefits, from preventing tooth decay and cavities to freshening your breath. And probably the most compelling reason to make brushing and flossing a regular part of your daily routine is that it can save you money. Getting cavities filled and crowns put in are not inexpensive procedures.

So what are proper brushing and flossing techniques?

Brushing

·       Brush your teeth 2 times a day, in the morning and at night.

·       Use a toothbrush with soft, rounded-end bristles and a head that is small enough to reach all parts of your teeth and mouth. Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

·       You may also use an electric toothbrush that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Studies show that powered toothbrushes with a rotating and oscillating (back-and-forth) action are more effective than other toothbrushes, including other powered toothbrushes.

·       Place the brush at a 45-degree angle where the teeth meet the gums. Press firmly, and gently rock the brush back and forth using small circular movements. Do not scrub. Vigorous brushing can make the gums pull away from the teeth and can scratch your tooth enamel.

·       Brush all surfaces of the teeth, tongue-side and cheek-side. Pay special attention to the front teeth and all surfaces of the back teeth.

·       Brush chewing surfaces vigorously with short back-and-forth strokes.

·       Brush your tongue from back to front. Some people put some toothpaste or mouthwash on their toothbrush when they do this. Brushing your tongue helps remove plaque, which can cause bad breath and help bacteria grow. Some toothbrushes now have a specific brush to use for your tongue.

Flossing

Floss at least once a day. The type of floss you use is not important. Choose the type and flavor you like best. When you floss your teeth, use any of the following methods:

  • The finger-wrap method: Cut off a piece of floss 18 inches to 20 inches long. Wrap one end around your left middle finger and the other end around your right middle finger, until your hands are about 2 inches to 3 inches apart.
  • The circle method: Use a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Tie the ends together, forming a loop. If the loop is too large, wrap the floss around your fingers to make it smaller.
  • Use a plastic floss tool: There are lots of options available at most drugstores and grocery stores. This often makes it easier for many people to actually commit to flossing daily. Child-size flossing tools are available for parents to use to floss their children's teeth.

Gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gums. Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape and gently slide it under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the plaque. Popping the floss in and out between the teeth without scraping will not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.

If your gums bleed when you floss, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter next to your teeth

 

Source: WebMD

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