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Tips for Choosing the Right Toothbrush and Flossing Techniques

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential for your dental Brushing and flossing your teeth are two fundamental practices that dentists recommend performing daily. The American Dental Association suggests spending at least two minutes brushing your teeth. Brushing twice daily and flossing once daily (or more) is ideal for most people. However, you may brush or floss any time you think food particles might be stuck in the gaps between teeth.

In this guide, we will provide you with tips for choosing the right toothbrush and effective flossing techniques.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Selecting the correct toothbrush is crucial for achieving a cleaner and healthier mouth and ensuring a comfortable brushing experience. Here are some tips for choosing a toothbrush:

Get a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Select a toothbrush with soft bristles, as they effectively remove food particles and plaque without causing damage to your tooth enamel or gum tissue. If you have gum disease or sensitive teeth, consider using a toothbrush with extra soft bristles for a gentle brushing experience.

Select the Right Size

A toothbrush that has an oversized head can be challenging to maneuver. It might not clean the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth, especially the backside of the molars. Toothbrushes with a smaller head are generally more effective, as they can reach every area of your mouth more easily and do a better job of teeth cleaning.

Pay Attention to Comfort

When a toothbrush causes discomfort, you may be disinclined to diligently follow the brushing and cleaning routine. Select a brush that feels more natural and comfortable to hold and fits well in your hand. Look for a toothbrush with a non-slip grip, which can enhance your brushing experience. Try different types of toothbrushes until you can identify the best model for you.

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Age-Appropriate Toothbrush for Children

Kids require toothbrushes specifically designed for their smaller mouths. Adult toothbrushes are usually too large for children to use comfortably. Choose toothbrushes designed for their age group, which are usually available in attractive colors and feature popular cartoon characters to make brushing more enjoyable for kids.

Choosing the Right Type of Dental Floss

A research study comparing different flossing products found no significant difference in their ability to remove plaque. The study covered the following types of flossing products: 

  • Woven floss 
  • Unwaxed floss 
  • Electric flosser 
  • Shred-resistant floss 

The study showed that these products remove plaque more effectively than brushing alone (without flossing). The average plaque removal was the highest after using the electric flosser.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right flossing product for your teeth:

  • Teeth with Significant Gaps: If you have wide spaces between your teeth, dental tape made from polythene fiber or waxed nylon may be more effective in cleaning those areas.
  • Teeth with Limited Space: If you have minimal space or almost no gaps between the teeth, waxed floss may be better for you because it will slide more easily within tight spaces.
  • Convenience: If you want more convenience, ease of use, and no mess, consider using good disposable flossers.
  • Dental Appliances: If you have dental bridges or braces, floss products designed for dental appliances or spongy floss might be a suitable choice.

Check the ADA Seal

Regardless of the style of toothbrush or floss you select, it is generally a good idea to check whether the American Dental Association has approved the product. The ADA is committed to promoting oral health in the US. The ADA seal ensures the product meets specific quality and safety standards.

Correct Brushing Techniques

No matter which toothbrush you use, it is recommended to follow these brushing techniques suggested by experienced dentists:

  • Brush with a Fluoride Toothpaste: Brush your teeth for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. Divide the time equally among the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right teeth, allocating 30 seconds per section.
  • Angle the Brush: Angle the bristles toward the gums where they meet the teeth, forming a 45-degree angle. This angle helps reach the junction where plaque and calculus accumulate. Avoid brushing with the bristles perpendicular to your teeth at a 90-degree angle.
  • Circular Motion: Make gentle circular motions with the bristles, rotating them to remove debris along the gum line effectively.
  • Focus on Technique: Brush without distractions, allowing yourself to concentrate on your brushing technique.
  • Be Gentle: Avoid applying excessive pressure while brushing, as it can irritate and potentially harm your gums. Remember to brush your tongue, as it accumulates bacteria that need to be removed.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your mouth and toothbrush to remove all traces of toothpaste and food debris.
  • Check Your Gums: After brushing, pull your lips away from your teeth to check for any remaining food particles. Your gums should not appear red or swollen.

If you're unsure whether you're brushing correctly, dental experts suggest practicing without toothpaste. When you run your tongue against your teeth, they should feel smooth.

Proper Flossing Techniques

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to maintain optimal oral hygiene. Follow these steps for effective flossing:

  • Use an Adequate Length: Take out at least 18 inches of dental floss. Wrap one end around the middle finger of one hand and the remaining portion around the middle finger of the other hand. The floss wrapped on the opposite finger will collect the food particles removed during the flossing process.
  • Hold the Floss Firmly: Tightly hold the floss between your thumbs and fingers. Now slide it gently into the tooth gaps using a back-and-forth motion. Avoid pushing the floss directly into the gums.
  • Create a C-Shaped Curve: Once the floss is close to the gum, curve it around the neck of the tooth, forming a C shape. Slowly move the floss into the space between the gums and the teeth.
  • Slide and Rub: Keep the floss pressed firmly against the tooth surface and gently slide it down and up while rubbing the tooth sides. Repeat this motion for each tooth, including the back surfaces of the last teeth in the upper and lower arches.
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Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

In addition to maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits, visiting a dentist for professional cleanings every six months is important. Regular dental checkups are essential for monitoring your oral health and addressing potential issues. Contact your dentist for guidance if you notice any problems between visits, such as tooth sensitivity or gum inflammation.

Schedule an Appointment to Protect Your Oral Health 

For both children and adults, good oral hygiene practices create the foundation for excellent oral health. At R+R Dental, Dr. Michael Richer and Dr. Nadia Rivera are committed to providing safe and proven dental solutions to improve smiles. We take pride in offering the whole family excellent general, cosmetic, and restorative dental care. 

If you have questions about choosing the right toothbrush and floss or wish to learn about the right brushing and flossing techniques, our team will be happy to guide you. Give us a call today at (347) 431-0657 to set up an appointment with our dentist, or reach us online.

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