You should brush after each meal or snack. It might be helpful to stand in front of a mirror while brushing, so you can see where you are brushing. Use a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste or simply wet your tooth brush with water if you are brushing on the go.
To brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gum and teeth meet. Brush gently in a circular motion using small, gentle strokes. You should be using light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but there should not be any discomfort while brushing. Once you have finished brushing the outside surfaces of all your teeth, you essentially follow the same process while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Using gentle back-and-forth strokes, brush over each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue.
To clean the biting surfaces of your teeth, use short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Once you are finished brushing, rinse vigorously with water to remove any plaque or debris loosened while brushing.
Flossing should be done after eating. Using a piece of floss about 12” to 18″ long, wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand and wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
When flossing the upper teeth, hold the floss between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently slide the floss between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Be careful not to force the floss or you may accidentally cut the gum. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against the tooth. Slide the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth and then gently move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Repeat the action against the other tooth surface. Continue this process to floss each side of all the upper teeth and use clean sections of the floss as the floss becomes soiled. Pay special attention to the back side of the last tooth on both sides.
When flossing the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Pay special attention to the back side of the last tooth on both sides.
When finished, rinse mouth to remove loosened food particles and plaque. If you have not flossed in a while, your gums may bleed a little and feel sore the first few days. Once you maintain a regular flossing routine, the gums will become more healthy.
Oral Hygiene Products
For most patients, a tooth brush with a soft or medium bristles is the best choice. Electronic toothbrushes such as Oral-B, Braun or Sonicare are safe and effective for most patients. Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can help reduce tooth decay when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.