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John P. Goodman DDS

Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques: Oral Hygiene Tips

By Dr. John Goodman on January 20, 2015

A woman with a toothbrush smilingDr. John P. Goodman of Kansas City knows that good dental health really does start at home, which is why he stresses proper at-home dental care as a supplement to general dentistry services. With that in mind, let's consider some basics when it comes to proper oral hygiene: brushing and flossing techniques.

How important is proper technique?

Very important.

While brushing and flossing at least twice a day is key to having a healthy smile, if you are doing it improperly, you may be doing more harm than good. Improper brushing and flossing can lead to damage of the gums and even damage to the teeth. Sometimes bad technique means you aren't even getting your teeth as clean as they could be.

Picking the Right Toothbrush Matters

When it comes to picking the right toothbrush, one of the most important concerns is the size of the brush and the kinds of bristles on it. Make sure to use a toothbrush with a small head and with soft bristles. The small head will help you access those hard-to-reach places, and the soft bristles will prevent damage to the gums while you brush.

Making the Most of the Way You Brush

When brushing your teeth, be sure to do so gently and yet thoroughly. Using back and forth motions, be sure to clean the fronts and backs of your teeth to cover the entire surface of the tooth and the cusps (biting surfaces). Around the gumline, angle your toothbrush to roughly 45 degrees and make motions outward from the gumline.

Flossing Gently and Deliberately

When flossing, be sure to use around 18 inches of floss and wrap it around your fingers so that there is about two inches to use for cleaning between your teeth.

When flossing, be gentle. Do not force the floss hard between the teeth and snap it against the gumline as this can cause damage. Instead, slowly work down to the gumline, curve the floss around the fronts and backs of the teeth, and then work the floss up from the gumline and outward using back-and-forth motions.

Use Floss Threaders When Needed

If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances in place, be sure to use threaders for your floss. These will help you work the floss between brackets, wires, and bars and allow you to clean these surfaces properly. Do not take threaders for granted since they can make a major difference to your overall dental health.

Brush Your Tongue Too (Or Use a Scraper)

Bacteria loves to remain on the tongue, which can lead to bad breath and other kinds of dental health issues. Be sure to brush your tongue gently or use a tongue scraper to get rid of the problematic bacteria that resides there.

Replace Your Brush Regularly

A toothbrush will last around three months to a bit longer before it needs to be replaced. When the bristles of your toothbrush are bent or curved, it can no longer clean your teeth properly or efficiently. It's a good time to replace your toothbrush when you notice this.

Speak with Dr. John P. Goodman About Your Dental Health

For more information about good oral hygiene and how we can help you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Goodman will work closely with you so you can smile with absolute confidence.

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2700 Clay Edwards Dr
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Kansas City, MO 64116

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