Caring for Your Teeth 101: How to Brush and Floss and Why



Yes, we all know we should brush and floss regularly. Yet, during the many days in between seeing a dentist, it’s easy to become lax about the time you spend brushing, the angle of the brush on your teeth and the ever annoying reminder that we should floss, too. So we at James White Dental want to remind everyone why it’s so important to brush and floss. Here’s our guide to Basic Teeth Care 101, and how good daily habits help you on the path to your best smile.

Get in the habit of flossing. It’s just as important as brushing. Flossing removes built up plaque, food and bacteria that gets stuck and can’t be reached by your toothbrush, no matter how hard you scrub. If you don’t like traditional floss, you can buy dental picks to make the habit easier or more fun for you.

Floss before brushing your teeth so that any food or bacteria you shake loose gets brushed away and cleaned after and doesn’t linger on your teeth.

Use a nylon bristle toothbrush. Unlike hard bristles, these soft brushes won’t irritate your gums or erode your tooth enamel. You can choose either an electric toothbrush or manual one, as long as you use the correct technique for clean teeth. If your brush’s bristles start to show signs of wear after approximately three or four months (the bristles are splayed out and have lost their shape), it’s time to get a new one.

Squeeze out only a pea-sized amount of paste. Ignore the commercials that show toothpaste being spread across the entire head of the toothbrush. You really don't need that much paste. This can cause over-sudsing, leading you to spit out the excess foam and quit brushing too early. Remember to never swallow your toothpaste, especially if it contains fluoride.

Set your bristles at your gums in a 45 degree angle. Brush gently with short or circular motions. Don’t sweep the brush across your teeth.

Spend three minutes brushing, working your way around the mouth in sections and brushing for 12-15 seconds each. Sing a song in your head or watch TV. It’ll ensure that you’re brushing a full two to three minutes.

Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly afterward to remove bacteria and leftover toothpaste. Leave the toothbrush in an upright position in the open where it can dry out easily, stopping bacteria from growing.

Talk to your dentist to see if he recommends you finish with a fluoride-based mouthwash.

And remember, brush at least twice a day! Your mouth and teeth are very important to your everyday life. You use your mouth and teeth to talk, smile and chew your food. Fighting bacteria that naturally nest in your mouth not only prevents cavities and other periodontal diseases, but promote better overall health and wellness. Do you have any questions about brushing your teeth? Contact the office of James White, D.D.S. at 702-329-8181.