Brushing and Flossing
Sometimes, it’s nice to review some of the basics of dental care. There are things we all know about dentistry, but, it’s nice to look at those things periodically and consider them as we grow older and wiser, and our thinking changes. Today, we’re going to talk about brushing and flossing and some new ways to consider them.
Your toothbrush is the one dental hygiene tool you use multiple times every day. Imagine any other cleaning tool in your arsenal of cleaning products. Imagine using that tool several times a day. Now, what if you never washed that tool beyond a perfunctory rinsing?
This is the life we consign to our poor toothbrush! So, with that in mind, the next time you wonder if your toothbrush needs to be replaced, don’t question. Yes, it’s time. It’s also time if you have been sick, or if the bristles are bent, frayed, or generally wonky. Or, after three months, even if it still looks great.
Electric or manual?
Yes. Use one of those! Do what is comfortable for you. Think of your toothbrush the same way you would think of it as a scrub brush if you were cleaning out particularly small, gunky bits from crevices of a piece of fine china that you don’t want to scratch. Use a soft brush and gently clean each tooth surface and gumline area. Be patient while you brush, because it takes time to reach all surfaces.
Brush in a gentle, circular motion. As you brush, think about each bristles getting into those hard to reach places. Brushing your teeth is a mindful activity. If you were cleaning the gunk from around your faucet, but couldn’t see what you were doing, you’d put some thought and effort into reaching and cleaning each area, right? It’s the same with brushing your teeth. You can’t see what you’re doing because bacteria are so small.
The purpose of floss
Floss has an exciting role in the dental hygiene process. If you aren’t flossing every day, consider changing your mind about this essential part of dental hygiene, because there are places a brush can’t reach, but dental floss will.
There are two real processes floss performs. The first is cleaning under the gumline. After you wrap the piece of dental floss around your index and middle fingers, use your thumbs to control the motion. Slide the floss up just under the gum line and curve it around the shape of the tooth. As you slide it downward, work it gently back and forth. Repeat this for each side of every tooth. As you work, be gentle but firm enough to remove the food debris. Use a fresh protion for each surface.
Dental floss removes food from under the gumline. We know that food eventually spoils, so if you aren’t committed to flossing, that spoiled food is going to stay beneath the gum line and rot. Rot carries an unpleasant odor, so those who don’t floss often develop bad breath because of the food particles rotting beneath their gum line.
What kind of floss?
Your teeth and habits will determine the type of floss to use. Some people keep several different types of floss on hand to use depending on the circumstances. If you have tight teeth, try Glide Oral-B Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss. If you’re a person who is on the go, buy Plackers Whitening Twin Line Floss Picks, which have a double strand of floss for each pick and are easy to use at any time of day. Oral-B Super Floss Pre-Cut Strands have a spongy portion which is designed to remove more food, and a threader for getting beneath bridges, braces, and other areas where dental floss can’t slide.
Try a few different types to see the kind you like, and feel free to switch around and use several types in a day or week.Sometimes, even the act of changing the floss is enough to keep you engaged in the flossing process.
Visit your dentist
Don’t forget to make regular checkups part of your dental hygiene program. You’ll want to show off the results of your new dental care regime to your dentist, who is in the unique position to appreciate all of your beautiful work!
If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!