Brush, Floss, Rinse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Dental Health
bristles at the gum line, at a 45-degree angle to gums. Press gently and use short strokes with a vibrating back and forth or light scrubbing motion.
- Reposition brush vertically to clean inside surface of front teeth, upper and lower.
- Start with upper teeth, brushing outside, inside and chewing surfaces. Do the same for lower teeth. Be sure to brush each tooth.
- To freshen breath, brush tongue too, as the tongue can harbor many bacteria. The tongue should also be brushed using no
Replace your toothbrush every one to three months or as soon as it shows wear.
- Take an 18-inch piece of
and wind it around the middle finger of each hand or tie together in a circle.
- Grasp floss firmly between thumb and index finger of each hand. Hold half-inch section taut for more control. Work it gently between teeth until it reaches the gumline.
- Curve floss into C-shape around tooth. Slide floss up and down side of tooth gently. Remove floss gently and repeat for all teeth. Take care not to injure gums with floss.
- Flossing requires some degree of coordination and takes practice. It may help to use a floss holder.
Flossing should be done once per day. Plaque is a sticky substance that sticks to the teeth and must be flossed off in the areas the brush cannot reach. Place the floss between two teeth, wrap it around one tooth, then pull the floss along the tooth structure and actually scrape the plaque off.
- Take the recommended dose of fluoride rinse (usually a capful), swish it around mouth for 60 seconds, and rinse out, taking care not to swallow it.
- If you are unable to rinse without swallowing, use cotton swab or toothbrush to place a little fluoride rinse on your teeth. Your dental professional may also recommend a prescription fluoride gel treatment.
Topical fluoride is an important part of daily oral hygiene. After the plaque has been removed from the teeth and gums by brushing and flossing, the teeth should be exposed to fluoride. Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse for one minute or applying the mouth rinse along the gumline with a brush can do this. Put the measured amount of fluoride in a cup, then dip the brush into the rinse and apply along the gumline of all the teeth.
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