Your teeth can last a lifetime if you
practice basic dental care, which involves brushing and flossing regularly,
eating a mouth-healthy diet, and visiting your dentist and/or
dental hygienist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Developing good dental health habits is the best way to prevent
tooth decay and
and flossing are important parts of your dental care. To do these actions well,
make them part of your daily routine and:
You should brush your teeth once a day, before
You should brush your teeth 2 times a day, in
the morning and at night.
Continue to Why?
brushing and flossing can help you:
You need to brush and floss to prevent tooth decay,
cavities, and gum disease.
Brushing and flossing do help prevent tooth
decay, cavities, and gum disease. And they also make your trip to the dentist
more pleasant, save you money, prevent bad breath, and keep your teeth whiter.
If you brush and floss, your teeth can last a lifetime.
Continue to How?
When you brush
Floss at least once a day. The type of floss you use is not
important. Choose the type and flavor you like best. When you floss your teeth,
use any of the following methods:
Gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gums.
Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape and gently slide it under the gum
line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the
plaque. Popping the floss in and out between the teeth
without scraping will not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.
A plastic flossing tool makes flossing easier. Child-size
flossing tools are available for parents to use to floss their children's teeth.
They are available at most drugstores.
If your gums bleed when you
floss, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter next
to your teeth.
It is better to brush my teeth with gentle, circular
motions than to scrub vigorously.
Gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush keeps
your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing too hard can make the gums pull away from
the teeth and can scratch your tooth enamel.
If my gums bleed when I floss, it means that I
probably should not floss.
If you have just started flossing your teeth
and your gums bleed when you floss, it probably means that your gums are not
used to cleaning. The bleeding after flossing should stop as your gums become
healthier and tighter next to your teeth. Talk to your dentist if the bleeding
after flossing does not stop after a few days of regular flossing.
Continue to Where?
To learn more about brushing, flossing, and the care of your teeth, talk to
your dentist and dental hygienist.
If you would like to learn more about oral health care and
prevention of oral disease, the following organization can provide information:
The American Dental Association (ADA), the professional
membership organization of practicing dentists, provides information about oral
health care for children and adults. The ADA can also help you find a dentist
in your area.
Return to topic:
Robinson PG, et al. (2005). Manual versus powered
toothbrushing for oral health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2). Oxford: Update Software.
January 7, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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