Teeth Cleaning: Brushing and Flossing

Happening Issue 79 Jul, 2010

What technique should I use?
When brushing your teeth it is best to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, aiming the bristles of your brush toward the gum line. The join between the teeth and the gum is a nice niche for bacteria and plaque to accumulate, so it is important to get to this area. Once you have the brush at the correct angle, all you need to do is jiggle the brush gently back and  forward, only brushing one or two teeth at a time. Don’t be excessively vigorous, but also don’t be too mild. Remember: You are trying to penetrate the bristles into the gaps between teeth to remove a very soft plaque. You need to be systematic–brushing all teeth in order, inside and outside–and you really should do it in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing.

How long should I brush?
Proper brushing should take two to three minutes.

How often should I brush?
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Remember that it is
important to have the right brushing technique, as poor brushing techniques can cause harm to the teeth and gums.

Is brushing alone enough?
No. Good brushing is very important to help prevent dental decay and  periodontal disease; but brushing alone is not enough. It is also important to clean between your teeth. This is why flossing is so important.

How often should I floss?
You should floss every day.

What is the correct way to floss?
Holding floss is the key. You should have a decent length and make sure it is tightly wrapped around and locked onto the middle finger of each hand. Some companies also make small flossing aids. You should floss using a gentle sawing motion, against the sides of your teeth. If you find this tricky, speak to your dentist. They will be able to advise you on the best oral hygiene aids for you, and show you exactly how to use them. Remember—prevention is the aim!

What should I do if brushing or flossing makes my gums bleed?
If your gums bleed or become sore after flossing, do not panic. If you have not been flossing regularly then the gums will be inflamed and will bleed more easily. If the bleeding persists, see your dentist.

Choosing a toothbrush
The best toothbrush is one with a small head and soft bristles. Electric toothbrushes can also be very good, particularly for people who find proper  brushing techniques difficult to master.

Choosing a toothpaste
Always use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride combines with
minerals in your saliva to toughen your tooth enamel and help stop decay.

Advanced Dental Care
Lazimpath, Kathmandu (opp. palace)
Tel: 443.3800, Email: dentistnepal@yahoo.com