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How To Clean Your Teeth, Like a Dentist

How to Brush
Begin with the right equipment – a soft bristled toothbrush that allows you to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one. A worn-out brush won’t clean your teeth properly.

To clean the outside surfaces of all your teeth, position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using short, gentle strokes. Apply light pressure to get the bristles between the teeth, but do not use so much pressure that you feel discomfort.

After cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, use the same method on the inside of the back teeth. Move the brush in short, gentle but firm strokes, keeping it angled against the gum line.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically.
Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue.

To clean the biting surfaces of your teeth, use short, gentle strokes. Since the toothbrush can clean only one or two teeth at a time, change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all.

Watch yourself in a mirror to make sure you cover each surface. After brushing, rinse vigorously to remove loosened plaque. If you have any discomfort while brushing or have questions about how to brush properly, be sure to talk to your dentist or a trained staff member.

How to Floss
Periodontal disease occurs primarily between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Since flossing is a very effective way to clean plaque from those surfaces, it’s important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will guide you, but flossing is a skill that takes time and practice. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to floss comfortably and correctly. He or she may recommend one of a number of flossing tools to help you.

Begin with a piece of waxed or unwaxed floss about 18 inches or 50 centimeters long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the opposite hand.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. The fingers controlling the floss should be no more than one half inch or 1 ½ centimeters apart.

Gently insert the floss between the teeth, using a back -and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Guide the floss to the gum line. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance.

Using both hands, move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember, there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Repeat this technique on each side of all the upper teeth.

As the floss becomes frayed or soiled, a turn from one middle finger to the other will bring up a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, you will bind it easier to guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands.

Don’t forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

Rinse vigorously with water after flossing to remove the plaque and food particles. For the first week of flossing your gums may bleed or be sore. As you daily remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

If the bleeding does not stop within a few days, talk to your dentist.