BETTER HEALTH: Check out these tips for taking better of your teeth all year round.
BETTER HEALTH: Check out these tips for taking better of your teeth all year round.

Flossing and brushing tips for your pearly whites

THE Australian Dental Association has some great tips to help you take better care of your teeth every day, not just during this week's Dental Health Week.

Before you start brushing

  • Pressing harder on your teeth doesn't equal a better clean. It can damage your gums and tooth enamel.
  • Every three months replace your toothbrush.
  • Talk to your dentist about how you brush your teeth.

Brush for how long?

  • Brushing for two minutes in the morning and at night for give you the maximum benefit.

Best toothbrush

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head and a flexible neck.
  • The advantage of these toothbrushes is that they remove the plaque and debris from your teeth without damaging your teeth and gums.

Straight or angled?

  • Keep to a regular plan of brushing by starting at the back of the mouth with the toothbrush bristle at the gum line on a 45 degree angle. Brush gently in a circular motion.
  • Don't scrub too hard from side to side as you can run the risk of causing your gums to recede, as well as damaging the tooth enamel.
  • Take care to brush carefully along the inner, outer and chewing surfaces, making sure you tip the toothbrush so you can reach the inner front areas of the teeth, which are often missed.
  • Brushing your tongue is okay. It helps reduces the bacteria in your mouth and helps your breath stay fresh. You just need to push the bristles on the tongue and scrape gently forward.
  • When finished, spit out the toothpaste, but don't rinse with water. Leaving some toothpaste on your teeth is a really great way to give your teeth some extra ongoing protection.

For the less dexterous of us

  • Consider using a powered toothbrush.
  • Some can be programmed to run for two minutes.
  • Don't forget to replace the brush every three months or sooner if the bristles are spreading.

Floss the other half

Flossing should be an essential part of your oral care routine and never an optional extra so that you get to clean the half of your mouth missed when brushing, that is the plaque that builds up between the teeth.  

When to floss?

  • Every day and slowly.

How to floss

  • Wind about 45cm of floss around your middle fingers and grip it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
  • Keep the thumb and forefingers close together.
  • Gently guide the floss between your teeth, taking care not to cut or damage your gums with abrupt movement.
  • Use a gentle up-and-down motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the little collar of the gum and then back up the other side.)

And remember, the best dental advice for you individual care will come from your own dentist who you should visit at least once a year. 

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