Helpful Tips to Properly Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth from Our Indianapolis Dentist
Everybody knows you’re supposed to brush and floss your teeth. But do you know how you’re supposed to brush and floss? Let’s find out with the help of our dentist in Indianapolis.
Choosing a Toothbrush and Toothpaste
There are many types of toothbrushes. There are soft, medium, and coarse-bristled toothbrushes. Perhaps you think that choosing one is just a matter of personal preference as to what feels best to you. You might be surprised to learn that, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is a “right” answer to the toothbrush question. It’s soft-bristled all the way!
The ADA recommends soft soft-bristled toothbrushes to gently remove the tiny bits of food that get stuck on your teeth. In fact, medium and especially coarse-bristled toothbrushes are harsh enough to damage your gums and your enamel.
What about toothpaste? You might be surprised here too. Toothpaste really doesn’t remove particles or polish your teeth any more effectively than proper brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water alone does.
That’s not to say that toothpaste is of no value. A toothpaste with fluoride aids in preventing tooth decay. If you choose a toothpaste with a whitening agent, you may see some modest cosmetic improvement in the appearance of your teeth. If you choose a flavored toothpaste, like mint, you might be left with a taste in your mouth that you find pleasant, and it may improve your breath.
But really what matters is that you brush your teeth and how you brush them.
So What's the Proper Brushing Technique?
Gently, but efficiently brush the entire surface of your smile. Don’t focus only on the surfaces of the teeth that are most visible. You need to get all of them, and to reach in and brush the back of them as well. Besides its dental health benefits, this is helpful cosmetically as well, since teeth are partly translucent, and stains or discoloration on the back of a tooth can show through the front to some extent.
You should brush your teeth for two minutes. One thing to do is divide the task into four parts—the left half of your upper teeth, the right half of your upper teeth, the left half of your bottom teeth, and the right half of your bottom teeth—and brush each of those four sections for 30 seconds.
What About Flossing?
Take about 18 inches of floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Rub the floss gently between your teeth, working your way around your mouth, top and bottom.
How Often to Brush and Floss
At the very minimum, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day—in the morning and at night—and floss your teeth at least once a day.
However, you may want to brush and floss more often if either you're prone to get cavities more than the average person, or you've eaten the kinds of foods that are most apt to stick to your teeth or get stuck between them. That would be foods like:
• Candy, especially sticky candy like taffy or caramel
• Corn on the cob
• Steak or ribs
One thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve just consumed something highly acidic—like citrus fruit or soft drinks—you should wait 30 minutes before brushing, as acidic foods temporarily weaken tooth enamel and brushing will wear away some of the weakened enamel.
If you have any questions about brushing and flossing your teeth, be sure to speak with our Indianapolis dentist. Don't hesitate to call Meridian Dental Center at (317) 926-5467 and schedule your next appointment today.