HOW TO BRUSH AND FLOSS YOUR TEETH PROPERLY
If you visit your dentist regularly and still get scolded and get a negative report about the condition of your mouth, it's probably because you need to learn how to brush and floss your teeth properly. You may brush three times a day and floss, with no difference in how healthy your mouth is. Brushing and flossing correctly to effectively remove plaque is what matters.
Plaque is the soft film that accumulates on your teeth and gums. It contains bacteria and food by-products that harm the gums and cause tooth decay. The bacteria use sugar in food to produce acids. The acid destroys tooth surface, called enamel, and results in tooth decay, or 'cavity' which is a hole in the tooth surface. As the bacteria destroy further into the tooth, nerve damage results and pain.
If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing your teeth properly, it hardens and is called 'tartar'. This hardened plaque needs to be scraped off your teeth. If it's not removed, gum irritation and eventually gum disease will be experienced.
If you don't take care of the basics of oral hygiene routinely, you could very well develop gum disease, cavities that eventually results in dentures.
How to Floss Properly
Always floss first before brushing. This way, you remove any food or plaque from in-between the teeth and under the gums. Next you brush it all away. What type of floss you use depends on you. Typically, unwaxed works best for tight areas. Tape floss is recommended for teeth with spaces between them.
The following images from the American Dental Association are easy steps for learning how to floss.
1. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
3. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
4. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of each tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don't forget the back side of your last tooth.
How to Brush Your Teeth
1. You only need a dab of toothpaste on your brush.
2. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
3. Gently make small circles while moving the brush on every side (inner surface, outer surface, chewing surface of each tooth and the gums.
How to Clean Infant and Children's Teeth
A soft washcloth or gauze and water is all you need to wipe off breast milk or formula from baby's gums. Clean your baby's gums after each feeding.
Children's toothpaste is more important than you think. For children with baby teeth, use a small soft toothbrush and make sure you clean every side of every tooth. Toothpaste is not necessary with children under the age of two, unless recommended by your dentist. Children under the age of 4 have not mastered spitting, and may swallow toothpaste. Sparkly, candy flavored toothpaste with fluoride swallowed in large quantities, could be a health hazard. This is why there is a warning on the back of toothpaste with fluoride 'to keep our of reach of children under the age of 6. If more than used for brushing is swallowed, contact your Poison Control Center or physician immediately'.
Xylitol has been reported to help prevent tooth decay and is safe if swallowed. Fluoride free toothpaste with xylitol may be a better choice for children and adults.
If you use toothpaste for your toddler or pre-schooler, only a pea-sized amount is needed. Flossing can start when the first two front teeth touch. According to the American Dental Association, you should start dental visits by the child's first birthday.