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David M. Rizk, DDS

How to Properly Brush & Floss Your Teeth

added on: September 21, 2021

David M. Rizk, DDSProper dental hygiene is an absolute must to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and other issues with your teeth and gums. If you don’t pay attention to your teeth and gums on a regular basis, you could find yourself with major problems in the future. If you’re unsure of your current level of dental hygiene or if you want to make sure that you’re doing everything correctly, take a look at what your dentist in El Paso has to say about proper dental hygiene. 

Tooth Brushing: 101

We all know that we need to brush our teeth in order to keep them healthy. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, in fact, there are some common dos and don’ts when it comes to brushing your teeth properly. 

  • Take It Easy. It’s not uncommon for patients to feel like they need to scrub their teeth clean to remove all the bacteria, plaque, and leftover food particles. However, brushing too hard can actually cause damage to the tooth enamel and make it easier for cavities to form. Make sure you brush using small, gentle circles. 
  • Use Soft Bristles. Similarly to brushing too hard, using a toothbrush that has hard bristles can also cause damage. Look for a brush marked as soft and that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means that the product you’re buying has been evaluated by the American Dental Association and is considered both safe and effective. 
  • Twice a Day is Best. Your dentist in El Paso recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. You should brush both in the morning and at night. However, brushing any more often can damage your teeth. Additionally, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic. 

Flossing: 101

The other aspect of great oral hygiene is flossing. Flossing is crucial to getting a healthy smile and protecting teeth and gums from damage, but many people avoid flossing daily and only do it every so often. In fact, according to one study, more than 45% of people floss only weekly. Besides flossing daily, here are some other tips from your dentist in El Paso to make sure you’re getting the best clean possible. 

  • Gentle is Better. Snapping floss in and out of teeth may seem easy, but it can damage teeth and gums. In fact, this habit can lead to small tears in the gum tissue which can then become pockets of infection and, eventually, gum disease. When flossing, gently glide the floss in between each and every tooth, wiggling it out softly to avoid injury. 
  • Find the Right Tools. One of the biggest complaints patients have when it comes to flossing is that it’s too hard. However, there are plenty of different flossing products available. From traditional string floss to floss picks and water flossers, there’s a tool for each person. Don’t be afraid to try out a couple of options to find what works best for you. 
  • Floss First. Some patients will save flossing until last, but this may not be the best thing. Brushing first cleans your teeth, tongue, and some areas of your gums. But then flossing can reintroduce bacteria into your already clean mouth. A study from the Journal of Periodontology supports this idea and found that those who floss before brushing had significantly less plaque in their mouths. 

Besides having good oral hygiene habits at home, you still need to see your dentist in El Paso regularly for preventive checkups and cleanings. These appointments help catch any problems early when they’re still easy to treat and allow your dental hygienist to remove any plaque and tartar buildup that couldn’t be removed at home. 

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