Dental Hygiene

Good Hygiene Habits

Dental Services

How To Brush Your Teeth

Brush your teeth as soon as you finish eating. You should brush each time that you eat, to lower the risk of bacterial damage to the teeth due to food residue. Brush slowly for about two to three minutes (this is about the length of a song on the radio).

Brush smarter, not harder. Be gentle when brushing your teeth. Excessive force will injure your gums. Force is not necessary, as you are merely removing a daily buildup of plaque and food remnants, not stone. You should hold the brush gently with the tips of your fingers and thumb, as you would grip a pen, rather than in the palm of your hand.

Create a pattern for brushing your teeth. Start with the upper right tooth and work your way across the arch to the upper left. Then start in the lower left and work to the lower right. Make sure that you clean the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of the tooth. When brushing the teeth in the back of your mouth, keep your mouth slightly closed. This will relax your muscles so that you can thoroughly brush the outer surfaces of your molar teeth.

Choose a small toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard and medium toothbrushes are for cleaning dentures, not for cleaning your teeth. A large toothbrush will not let you focus on each individual tooth and will tend to damage the gum tissue. Larger brushes also make it more difficult to get into the harder to reach places of your mouth.

The Modified Bass Brushing Technique

  1. Hold the toothbrush head against your teeth horizontally, with the bristles part way on the gums.
  2. Tilt the brush head to a 45-degree angle, so the bristles are pointing under the gum line.
  3. Use very short horizontal or circular strokes to move the toothbrush, so that the tips of the bristles stay in one place while the brush head moves back and forth. This allows the bristles to slide gently under the gum. Do this for about 20 strokes to ensure that you remove as much plaque as possible.
  4. Roll or flick the brush so that the bristles move out from under the gum toward the biting edge of the tooth. This helps move the plaque out from under the gum line.
  5. Repeat for every tooth, so that all tooth surfaces and gum lines are cleaned.
  6. For the insides of your front teeth, hold the brush head vertically rather than horizontally. Again, use gentle back and forth brushing action and finish with a roll or flick of the brush toward the biting edge.
  7. To clean the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth, hold the brush so the bristles are straight down on the flat surface of the molars.
  8. Gently move the brush back and forth or in tiny circles to clean the entire surface.
  9. Move to a new tooth or area until all teeth are cleaned.
  10. Rinse with water to clear the mouth of food residue and removed plaque.
  11. You can clear even more bacteria out of your mouth by brushing your tongue. With your toothbrush, brush firmly but gently from back to front. Do not go so far back in your mouth that you gag. Rinse again.

Consideration for brushing children’s teeth

Floss is a tool that is used to scrape plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line. Regular flossing will reduce cavities, gum disease and bad breath. You should floss at least once a day. You can floss either before or after you brush. You may experience some bleeding at first. Don’t worry, this is normal. Take 12 to 18 inches of floss and grasp it so that you have a couple inches of floss taut between your hands. Guide the floss between the teeth. Pull the floss against one side of the tooth, creating a “tight C”. Pull the floss under the gums, then pull back up. Proceed to the other tooth involved in the contact and use it to gently rub the side of each tooth.

Electric Toothbrushes

A water flosser is an at home dental care device that uses a pressurized, pulsating jet of water to remove food debris, plaque and bacteria. Water flossers can be used to clean around natural teeth, orthodontic braces, crowns, bridges and dental implants. Many people find using a water flosser to be easier than using traditional string floss. Waterpik brand water flossers have earned the ADA seal of acceptance and are clinically proven to reduce gingivitis.

Flossing

Floss is a tool that is used to scrape plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line. Regular flossing will reduce cavities, gum disease and bad breath. You should floss at least once a day. You can floss either before or after you brush. You may experience some bleeding at first. Don’t worry, this is normal. Take 12 to 18 inches of floss and grasp it so that you have a couple inches of floss taut between your hands. Guide the floss between the teeth. Pull the floss against one side of the tooth, creating a “tight C”. Pull the floss under the gums, then pull back up. Proceed to the other tooth involved in the contact and use it to gently rub the side of each tooth.

Water Flosser

A water flosser is an at home dental care device that uses a pressurized, pulsating jet of water to remove food debris, plaque and bacteria. Water flossers can be used to clean around natural teeth, orthodontic braces, crowns, bridges and dental implants. Many people find using a water flosser to be easier than using traditional string floss. Waterpik brand water flossers have earned the ADA seal of acceptance and are clinically proven to reduce gingivitis.

Mouthwashes

There are many different varieties of mouthwash on the market. We find that many of these have very little value in preventing cavities or in reducing gum disease. Listerine is a reputable antibacterial mouthwash with a lot of evidence regarding the benefits of its daily use. Studies have shown that it is more effective in preventing gum disease than any other non-prescription brand.

Pennsylvania Dental Group
UNIVERSITY CITY PRACTICE

Call: (215) 387-0883
3700 Market Street, Suite 101
Philadelphia, PA 19104

CENTER CITY PRACTICE

Call: (215) 545-6334
1740 South Street, Suite 504
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Please call our offices directly when scheduling Appointments.
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