In addition to visiting Rapisarda Family Dental in Camas, WA every six months for professional cleanings, brushing and flossing at home are the two most important things you can do to ensure a lifetime of good oral health.
Why is brushing and flossing so important?
Brushing and flossing prevents cavities by removing the plaque and bacteria that form on teeth. The bacteria on tooth surfaces cause softening of the protective layers, which ultimately lead to the bacteria’s ability to penetrate into the tooth. These compromised areas are called cavities. Brushing and flossing also helps prevent gum disease by removing the plaque and bacteria that form around the teeth near the gums. The accumulation of plaque and bacteria lead to inflammation of gums. Chronic inflammation causes loss of gum, bone, and supporting tissue. If the process continues, the result is periodontal disease.
The Best Way to Brush and Floss
Tooth brushing should be done for a minimum of two minutes after every meal or anytime sugars come into contact with your teeth. Angle the toothbrush at 45-degrees with the bristles pointed to the gums. Use a circular motion to allow the bristles to “sweep” under the gums. All tooth surfaces that contact the gums should be cleaned in this manner. The biting surfaces of teeth can be effectively cleaned with a simple back and forth motion. We also advise brushing your tongue to minimize the accumulation of bacteria and promote fresh breath.
We recommend flossing at least once per day. Snap the floss through the contacts between teeth and then form a curve with the floss in the direction of the tooth surface to be cleaned. The cleaning is done in an up and down motion (not a back and forth like sawing a tree).
Traditional vs. Electric Toothbrushes
A traditional manual toothbrush is still a very effective way to keep teeth and gums free of plaque and bacteria. With the advent of electric toothbrushes, we have seen an even higher reduction in plaque and bacteria. While electric toothbrushes can be more effective, they cannot replace proper technique and adequate duration.
If you have questions about the best ways to brush and floss your teeth, don’t hesitate to ask a member of our Camas, WA dental staff!