Brushing and Flossing

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Brushing Instructions
  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 1

    Place your toothbrush parallel to the arch of teeth, and at a 45 degree angle to your gum with the bristles directed towardthe space between the tooth and gum (periodontal sulcus).

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 2

    Gently press the tooth brush against the teeth so the bristles are guided into the sulcus (space between the tooth and gum). Brush gently in a small circular motion so the bristles stay in the sulcus.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 3

    Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 4

    Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth. A very useful tip for getting access to the very back of the upper teeth is to close half way, or also shift you lower jaw to the side you are brushing. Being thorough, and getting all the surfaces without missing any is more important the brushing more frequently.


Flossing Instructions
  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 1

    Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and as the floss is used, the other finger takes it up.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 2

    Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth. A short piece gives you more control than a long piece.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 3

    Holding the floss tightly, gently work the floss between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape (wrap it into a really round curve) against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 4

    While firmly engaging the tooth surface with sideways pressure, slide the floss up and down to clean, repeating for each tooth. Make sure you get to the bottom of the sulcus (or gum pocket). As with brushing, thorough is more important than frequency.


 Tips for brushing

  • Thoroughness with oral hygiene is more important than increasing the number of times you brush in a day. If you are not thorough and consistently miss a spot, missing it several times leaves it just as dirty.
  • Brush till you are done. Although we frequently hear an arbitrary time, such as "two minutes", people with gum disease have a greater challenge to access and clean deeper gum pockets so need more time.
  • To avoid excess abrasion, which can lead to gum recession, use a soft bristle brush, warm the bristles under warm water before brushing, spread the toothpaste around all the teeth before you begin brushing, and start brushing a different part of your mouth each time.

Tips for flossing

  • Just as with brushing, thoroughness is more important than fequency. Be systematic and don't miss any teeth. Mke sure you get to the bottome of each sulcus (the space between the tooth and gum) where the gum attaches to the tooth.
  • Floss each surface till the plaque is gone rather than an arbitrary number of strokes. The plaque film is sticky and has thickness. It can take several strokes to get it all off. Floss till it goes from feeling slippery to "squeaky clean".
  • It doesn't really matter if you floss before or after brushing. Do what feels best to you. Most important is that you floss!

seattle-magseattle-metAmerican Academy Of Periodontology