Proper brushing and flossing of your teeth are crucial to good oral hygiene, and Portola Dental Group urges you to brush and floss your teeth a minimum of twice every day in between your bi-annual dental cleanings. The ongoing home care methods assist you in having less tartar and plaque buildup that must be removed at the professional cleaning, aiding you in the creation of a happier smile and healthier teeth and gums. Ongoing brushing and flossing also helps prevent serious diseases.

There are many reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:

Brushing and flossing prevents tooth decay – Decay is the leading cause of tooth loss, and is caused by a buildup of acid on the enamel of the teeth. Decay will generally need extensive repair work to stabilize if the teeth can be saved at all. Decay can be prevented through daily bushing and flossing.
Brushing and flossing prevents periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is quite serious, and leads to tooth loss as well as jaw bone loss, making even prosthetics difficult to adhere to bone. Periodontal disease is caused by buildups of acid and bacteria within the mouth, causing infection and serious problems. Regular brushing and flossing will help reduce the tartar and plaque that lead to periodontal disease.
Brushing and flossing prevents staining and halitosis – Staining and bad breath are caused by food particles remaining in the mouth after eating or overnight. The regular brushing and flossing that is suggested in the morning and at night will help prevent bad breath and cause teeth to be whiter and brighter.

How to brush your teeth:

You should brush your teeth a minimum of two times daily in the morning and at night before ed, and ideally after every meal. Your toothbrush should be small with soft, rounded bristles and should only be used for a maximum of two months before replacing. The brush itself needs to be soft enough to allow you to lightly brush your gums without damaging the tissues.

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in a small circular motion around the teeth and gumlines where the gums and teeth meet.
Do not brush your teeth to hard, you can damage tooth enamel and gums if too much pressure is applied.
Make sure to brush every surface of each and every tooth, as well as the insides of your cheeks, your tongue and all surfaces that contact food. Pay careful attention to brush your back teeth.
Use back and forth motions on all horizontal chewing surfaces (the tops of teeth) which will help remove plaque and fungi.

How to floss your teeth:

By flossing your teeth, you will help remove plaque and food particles from in between the teeth, as well as preventing periodontal disease and reducing the depth of gum pockets. Flossing should be done each time the teeth are brushed. Use a piece of floss around 18 inches long and wrap each end around your forefinger, leaving an area about 2 or 3 inches apart. Work the floss in between your teeth, and gently pull the floss back and forth on your gumlines. Curve the floss in a “u” shape and wrap it around the sides of the tooth, moving it up and down to remove debris in between the teeth. Try not to press the floss too deeply as it can cause gum inflammation and bleeding.

Ask your hygienist at your next exam with Portola Dental Group to demonstrate for you the proper technique for brushing and flossing your teeth.