Brushing & Flossing

flossing

Are you brushing your teeth too hard?

Brushing

Brushing hard in a horizontal scrubbing is not the right way of brushing teeth as you can harm your teeth more than doing good. The Modified-Bass cleaning technique is the one recommended by Dr. Estafan and Dr. Oh – it is beneficial for those who have healthy gums and those who have gingivitis or periodontal disease.

  • Keep the toothbrush at the margin of the gums at 45° angle and put mild force on the bristles so that they press against the teeth and gums softly.
  • Engage the toothbrush in back-and-forth strokes. Through this motion, both the dental plaque and the food debris will be washed off.
  • Brushing should be done three times in a day, after meals.
  • A minimum of two minutes should be given for brushing. Divide 2 minutes as a minute for upper and a minute for the lower jaw.
  • In each jaw split one minute to half so that each side (right or left) gets 30 seconds.
  • You can further split 30 seconds to half so that you can give 15 seconds to clean the outside surface (cheek/lip side) and the other 15 seconds for inner side.

Please Note, we specifically caution patients against using a medium or firm toothbrush. Medium and firm toothbrushes can also lead to overly aggressive pressure being placed on the teeth and gums. While these stiffer bristles can indeed clean the teeth better, these are much more likely to cause or hasten gum recession – and can cause tooth abrasion.   

We encourage all our patients to clean their teeth properly at home, but it is equally important to preserve gums and tooth structure. Take your time (for a full 2 minutes) and make sure to use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush. Fortunately, most of the toothbrushes available on the shelf at the drug store are soft. This is by far the most popular type. Similarly, quality electric toothbrushes like the Oral B Pro Series or Philips Sonicare come with soft brush-heads by default. They also have extra-soft (AKA sensitive) replacement brush-heads available.  

Extra-soft/Sensitive Brush-heads are indicated for those who already have some gum recession (gingival recession, not to be confused with gum/periodontal disease).  Once the gums have receded, they do not come back on their own. They only way to restore it is to have a gum doctor do a special type of gum graft.  We have found it’s much easier to prevent the recession than to need the gum surgery. For that reason, if you already have a recession, please make sure you are using an extra-soft/sensitive toothbrush (or brush-head)

Flossing

Regular flossing removes plaque, helping to prevent the buildup of plaque, which can lead to tartar. Simply flossing your teeth can make them look brighter by removing plaque and excess food particles that you may not see in the mirror or in areas that your toothbrush doesn’t reach.

How to floss properly? Please follow these procedures.

Step1:

Take at least 18 inches (50 cm) of floss and hold at least 2 inches of floss in between your fingers. The rest of the floss should be neatly wound around your middle finger.

Step2:

Using your thumbs and index fingers gently insert the floss (that is held tightly) in between two teeth. Care should be taken not to thrust the floss onto the gums injuring them.

Step3:

Now curve the floss such that it forms a shape of “C” around the tooth. Engage your fingers in an up-down movement so that the floss cleans the surface falling in between the teeth. Release a small section of unused floss each time you shift from one tooth to other.

Cleaning around Bridges & Implants

It is extremely essential to frequently clean the teeth that have crowns and bridges or those that are supported by implants. This is because these teeth are prone to develop dental decay or gum disease when not kept clean.

If you have any questions as to whether or not you are brushing too hard, you should come in to see the dentist. Dentists can show you the ropes: instruct you on how often to brush, demonstrate proper technique for brushing your teeth and using floss, and what approximate force to apply to the teeth when you are brushing.

Come to Madison Avenue Dentists to let us show you the technique of using FLOSS THREADERS and INTERDENTAL BRUSHES. You will be assisted by Dr. Stella Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan. These cleaning aids help in cleaning around restorations. We do have samples on hand, should you need them.