Brushing & Flossing

Brushing

Brushing is important for keeping the gums healthy as well as the teeth. Everyone knows that without the correct, regular brushing technique teeth can develop decay (holes). However, it is less commonly know that correct brushing also keeps the gums and supporting bony structure healthy and free of gum disease.

The aim of brushing is to remove plaque (bacteria) from the tooth surface and gum pocket (circled in red, below). Brushing is most effective if a soft, circular motion is used, directing the bristles of your tooth brush towards your gums at around 45°. The aim is to ‘sweep’ the soft plaque from beneath the gum and off the tooth. We recommend that you brush twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed.

 

 

 

Here are some helpful tips on brushing effectively.

  • Select a soft bristled toothbrush so you don’t damage your tooth enamel which can sometimes be caused with a medium-hard brush. A brush with a small head enables you to reach all areas of your mouth
  • Holding your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gum-line, gently brush from where the tooth and gum meet, to the chewing surface using short strokes. Brushing too hard can cause receding gums and tooth sensitivity
  • Use a sweeping action to clean the chewing surfaces of your back molar teeth. Tipping the bristles helps to get deep into the pits and crevices
  • To clean the inside of your front teeth, hold the brush almost vertically. Using a forward and back motion, bring the front part of the brush over the teeth and gums

 

Which are better, electric or manual toothbrushes? Many people ask if they should use an electric or manual toothbrush. There have been numerous studies conducted between the effectiveness of electric versus manual toothbrushes and the ability of each to remove plaque and reduce tartar build-up. The research has shown that both powered and manual toothbrushes can be equally effective if they are used correctly, therefore it doesn’t matter which brush you choose, but how you use it being the difference. Many people choose to use a powered toothbrush for their efficiency, older patients often find them easier to hold than a manual toothbrush as the handle is thicker.

Flossing

While brushing takes care of the outside of your teeth near your cheeks and lips, and the inside of your teeth near your tongue, it doesn’t quite clean between the teeth. To clean in between the teeth we floss. It is important when flossing, to make sure that the floss is being moved all the way beneath the gum pocket (see picture and video below).

 

Here are some helpful instructions step by step:

  • Start with about 40cm of floss, winding it around each middle finger, leaving around 1 inch in the middle
  • Holding the floss firmly between your thumb and forefinger, gently slide it between your teeth, wrapping it around the base of the tooth as you reach the gum line and ensuring the floss is beneath the gum line
  • Using a gentle up and down motion remove any soft plaque or debris from beneath the gum and between the teeth
  • Do not snap or forces the floss as you may bruise or cut the soft gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth

 

 

 

 

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