Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a sticky film formed largely by colonies of bacteria that attach to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert sugars into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it can develop into calculus (tartar).
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with a soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.Do not push on the brush – let the machine do the work.
- Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 30-40cm of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 5cm of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
- Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
- Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.