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Brushing and Flossing

BRUSHING

Brushing should be performed twice a day. The last brush should be done before bed. Avoid eating or drinking anything apart from water after this last brush.

  1. Use a soft toothbrush and pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  2. Hold your toothbrush bristles at 45° to the gumline
  3. Massage the gumline along the inside surfaces of your teeth (top and bottom), from the back on one side to the other. Spend about 3 seconds brushing each tooth.
  4. Massage the gumline along the outside surfaces of your teeth (top and bottom), from the back on one side to the other. Spend about 3 seconds brushing each tooth.
  5. Do a quick scrub of the biting surfaces of your back teeth.
  6. Finally, for fresh breath, brush your tongue to remove the smelly bacteria that live there.

Watch this video about proper tooth brushing for a visual tutorial.

FLOSSING

Flossing is the only way to clean between the teeth. Toothbrushing and mouthwashes do not get to the areas between the teeth.

  1. Arm yourself with 40cm of floss. Waxed floss frays less than unwaxed floss
  2. Wrap the floss around the middle fingers of both hands from the ends, so you are left with about 10cm floss between your fingers
  3. Use your thumb and index fingers to control the floss between your fingers
  4. Guide the floss between your teeth, cupping it around one tooth surface and rubbing gently under the gums, back and forth and up and down
  5. In the same space between the two teeth, cup it around the tooth next door and do the same
  6. Work around the whole mouth, making sure to clean two teeth in each contact space.

Watch video instructions on how to floss

Alternatively, piksters and small brushes can be used in between the teeth, but they must be used with caution to avoid gum damage.

MANUAL OR ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?

We often get asked if a manual or electric toothbrush is better.

If used with a proper brushing technique, both clean teeth well.

An electric toothbrush is particularly useful if your hand just doesn’t work as well as it should e.g. arthritis or other injury. We can make a customised handle for your toothbrush to fit your hand if it’s suitable.

Electric toothbrushes are also easier to use if you are caring for someone and cleaning their teeth for them.

Care needs to be taken with electric toothbrushes – brushing should be done gently as damage can be done to the gums exposing roots, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.

Depending on how your dentist sees you are going with your cleaning, they may recommend one or the other.

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