What brushing technique should I use?
Place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle over your teeth and gums. A small amount of toothpaste is sufficient. On the front and back surfaces of the teeth, move the brush up and down with a ‘flicking’ or ‘vibrating’ action of the wrist. Maintaining the 45 degree angle and the flicking action, brush the junction of the teeth and gums as this area is the most prone to build ups. If you prefer you can move the brush in large circles using a rolling action with the wrist, again including the edges of the gums. Each tooth has five surfaces – front, back, top and two sides which need to be cleaned. The inside of the lower teeth can be difficult to clean. To help with this, raise the elbow to shoulder level. Do not use harsh, horizontal ‘scrubbing’ strokes when brushing the teeth as it may damage teeth and gums . To help prevent bad breath (halitosis), gently brush you tongue from back to front and all of the upper and lower gums.
How long should I brush for ?
You should brush for at least 10 seconds each tooth. Proper brushing of all teeth and gums will take about 3-5 minutes. The minimum brushing time is 2 minutes.
How often should I brush?
For healthy teeth and gums brush at least twice a day, morning and evening. It is best to brush your teeth when you first get up in the morning and before bedtime. Try and avoid brushing after juice, wine or acidic drinks and foods as this can cause damage to your teeth.
Is brushing along enough?
No. You need to be flossing at least once a day.
How often should I floss?
Ideally once a day, however if you find there is food packing it may be a good idea to do after meals. There are interdental brushes available to help clean between the teeth if you do get food packing or jamming on regular occasions. It is likely that if there is a food pack, there is a problem with the tooth or filling.
How do I floss?
- wrap about 30-40cm of gloss around your middle and index fingers
- grip the floss between the thumb and index finger of each hand, leaving about 5cm in between
- gently direct the floss between each tooth. Move it slowly up and down in a gentle sawing motion to scrape the tooth surface. Glide the floss around the tooth and under the gum edge in a half moon shape until you are sure the plaque is removed. DO NOT snap the floss onto the gums as this can cause bruising and bleeding.
- Move the floss from tooth to tooth until all teeth have been cleaned.
- Don’t forget to floss behind the very back of the back molars even though there is no tooth next door.
- You may notice some bleeding and tendernees from the gums to start with, as the gums get healthier this will setlle down. If the bleeding persists, consult your dental professional.
What toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?
- A soft bristled toothbrush with rounded edges is better for teeth and gums than a hard bristled one. Soft bristles are able to reach smaller crevies and hollows in your teeth.
- A toothbrush with a small head is more effective in hard to reach areas than a large toothbrush.
- Bristles harden quickly and get a ‘shaggy dog’ appearance. A worn – out toothbrush is not effective in removing plaque, so get a new toothbrush every two to three months.
- A wide selection of toothpastes and gels for children and adults are on the market. For most people, a fluoride toothpaste is effective in teeth cleaning.
- It is important to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and avoid rinsing with water.
- Avoid whitening toothpastes as they tend to be more abrasive than other toothpastes and can damage your teeth.