Newsletter - February 2015

Brushing Up

In addition to visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning, it's important to maintain good oral health care at home. Brushing your teeth properly is essential to healthy teeth and gums and minimizes your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

How ofter should I brush my teeth, and for how long?

In order to effectively remove cavity causing bacteria, you should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Many electric toothbrushes now include built in timers, but if you are using a manual toothbrush, consider keeping a kitchen timer in the bathroom to make sure you're brushing long enough. Also, it's important that parents and caregivers monitor children while they brush their teeth to ensure they are brushing for two minutes twice a day and using the proper technique.

What brushing technique should I use?

Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth and brush in a circular or elliptical motion, pressing just firmly enough to reach between the teeth. Brushing too hard or using a sawing motion could cause your gums to recede or could damage your teeth.

Start brushing at the gumline and work your way down onto the teeth, brushing a couple of teeth at a time until you cover your entire mouth. Make sure to brush the outside and inside of your teeth, then chewing surfaces, and between the teeth, as well as your tongue.

What kind of toothbrush should I use?

Your toothbrush should have a long, wide handle that allows for a firm grip, and the toothbrush head should be small enough to reach all areas of your mouth. Always make sure to use a soft-bristled brush, because had bristles can damage your teeth and gums.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Old toothbrushes with worn and frayed bristles are ineffective and may harbor harmful bacteria. Make sure to change your toothbrush or brush head, if you use an electric toothbrush every three to four months, or after an illness.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which fights plaque and cavities, and cleans and polishes the tooth enamel.

As long as your toothpaste contains fluoride, the flavor, formula, and brand do not matter. You should, however, make sure your toothpaste bears the American Dental Association seal of approval, which means its safety and effectiveness have been tested.

How much toothpaste should I use?

To clean your teeth effectively, you only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If you use the correct technique, this should be enough toothpaste to cover all of your teeth.

Is flossing as important as brushing?

Yes. Flossing removes plaque and debris between your teeth, polishes the surfaces of the tooth, helps control bad breath, and reduces your risk of gum disease. In addition to brushing for two minutes twice a day, you also should floss for two or three minutes at least once a day, using an up and down motion and making sure to floss below the gumline.

Talk to Dr. Bui today for more brushing and flossing tips. Call our office 817-466-9972.

Have a great day!

Dr. Nancy Bui