A Dental Examination: Are You Brushing and Flossing Properly?

Dental DrillYou may think you’re an expert on brushing your teeth. After all, you’ve (hopefully) been doing it twice a day every day for your entire toothy life. If you’re 25 and started brushing your teeth yourself around the age of 2, this means you’ve brushed your teeth almost 17,000 times! However, are you actually doing it correctly? If you are missing a spot or incorrectly brushing your teeth, you’re not getting the full benefit of your toothbrush and paste.

Wielding Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is perhaps the most important tool in this process. The bristles should be relatively soft and rounded. But these bristles will wear out, and more quickly than you realize. One of the most common brushing mistakes is that you are brushing with an old brush. You should be replacing your toothbrush every 2-3 months.

The motions of brushing your teeth should be short and circular, like you’re scrubbing. You shouldn’t be pressing too hard, and if you’re smashing the bristles against your teeth, you are doing it wrong. Instead, keep things gentle. Brush the front and back of your teeth at a 45 degree angle, and brush the tops of your teeth straight on. Keep your brush moving so that you get all teeth multiple times.

You should also make sure to brush your tongue and palate. These are great places for cavity-causing bacteria to hide. Some toothbrushes today even have tongue scrapers added on the back of the bristle head.

Don’t Forget to Floss

If you are skipping your flossing session, you are definitely cleaning your teeth improperly. Flossing is so important, so don’t miss it.

Flossing is easy, once you find the right floss and know how to do it correctly. Hold your long string of floss with about 1 inch between your hands. “Saw” it in to the gaps between your teeth, but be gentle. You don’t want to force it down into your gums. When you get to the gumline, curve the floss up against your tooth and use it to scrape the side clean.

The Finishing Touches

Proper cleaning is easy, but it is surprising how many people make little mistakes with your teeth. Follow these steps, rinse your mouth well, and get your semi-annual professional cleanings, and you will truly be a teeth-cleaning pro.