Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing between teeth once a day are important to keep teeth and gums healthy and free of cavities and gum disease. Cleaning your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.
Plaque that is not removed by brushing and cleaning between your teeth can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar (or calculus). Tartar collects along and under your gum line and can lead to gum disease. Once tartar forms, only Dr. Skoog or your hygienist can remove it during your cleanings at our Palatine dental office.
Preventive Care Tips
- Electric toothbrushes are recommended by most dental professionals to help improve oral health because they are proven to be more effective in removing plaque compared to a manual toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
- Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
Proper Brushing Technique
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
Proper Flossing Technique
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the backside of your last tooth.
- Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.
If it's been six months since your last dental checkup, then it's time to contact our practice and schedule your next appointment!
- Brushing Instructions
Brushing: Step 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.
Brushing: Step 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
Brushing: Step 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
Brushing: Step 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
- Flossing Instructions
Flossing: Step 1
Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and the other finger takes it up as the floss is used.
Flossing: Step 2
Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
Flossing: Step 3
Holding the floss tightly, gently saw it between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.
Flossing: Step 4
Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.