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All the below content has been written by Dr. Sandip Sachar. 

Dentist NYC discusses how to brush and floss properly

In order to maintain proper oral hygiene, brushing and flossing are very important.  Along with proper technique of brushing and flossing, is also very important to get professional dental cleanings and checkups twice per year.

The goal of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque that forms on, and between the teeth and under the gums.  Additionally, proper oral hygiene will avoid bad breath and enhance the appearance of your smile.

At Sachar Dental NYC, our entire practice revolves around making sure patients have beautiful and healthy teeth and gums for life.  We stress the importance of you performing proper home care to assist us in this goal.  Additionally, we always recommend our patients to start with a healthy diet that avoids simple sugars and contains many fruits and vegetables.

Picture of diagram how to brush your teeth and floss correctly.

Why are brushing and flossing important?

Prevention of tooth decay.  Tooth decay occurs due to plaque that builds up on the teeth, between the teeth, and under the gums.  Acid produced by bacteria within the plaque, erodes the tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities.  It is easy to prevent this from happening by brushing twice a day.  Flossing and brushing twice a day remove most of the plaque and bacteria from on the teeth, between the teeth and under the gums.  However, brushing alone is not enough.  It is important to come in for your professional dental cleaning twice per year, to remove any plaque and tartar that remain after you brush.

Prevention of periodontal disease (gum disease).  Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria cause inflammation of the gums and erosion of the bones below.  Similar to the above-mentioned prevention of cavities, bacteria left under the gums can be reduced by flossing and brushing.  Periodontal disease, left untreated, can lead to gum recession, the loss of teeth and the loss of bone.

Prevention of bad breath (halitosis).  Bad breath occurs when bacteria break down plaque that is left on the teeth, between the teeth and under the gums.  Plaque consists mostly of food particles that are left behind.  By flossing and brushing twice a day, most plaque can be removed, preventing bad breath.  However, flossing and brushing alone are not enough.  It is important to come in twice per year to have your teeth professionally cleaning by us. 

Prevention of dental staining.  Staining of the teeth can occur from smoking, coffee, tea and other sources.  Brushing one’s teeth is the first step in removing these agents that cause staining.  Left untreated, sustains may become very hard to remove, or even permanent.  In addition to brushing teeth twice a day, is important to come in twice per year for your professional dental cleaning where we apply polish to remove staining as well.

What is the proper way to brush?

The American Dental Association (ADA), recommends brushing and flossing twice a day.  We recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach all areas of the mouth.  Using a stiffer toothbrush can lead to brush abrasions and gum recession.  Below are the steps that we recommend to brush your teeth properly:

Place the toothbrush such that it is angled toward the gums.  Use small, gentle, circular motions at the gum line and on the surface of the tooth.  Do not apply too much pressure that can cause damage to the gums and/or tooth enamel.  Systematically start in one corner of the mouth, and work your way across and over.  Continue to brush every tooth on every surface.  It should take you 2-3 minutes to brush properly.  It is important to brush long enough to remove as much plaque as possible.  A common misconception is that brushing harder removes more plaque and will take less time.  This is not true, and can lead to damage to the teeth and gum recession, as the toothbrush may damage the gums and the enamel of the tooth.  Unfortunately, brushing alone will not remove all the plaque from the tight spaces between the teeth and under the gums.  Therefore, flossing is also necessary, and it is important to have regular dental cleanings twice per year by a professional.

What is the properly to floss?

Brushing alone will not remove all the plaque from between the teeth and under the gums.  Therefore, flossing is very important. The ADA recommends flossing to clean hard to reach tooth surfaces. Flossing should be done at least once a day.  The proper technique to floss is as follows: Take a length of loss and hold it tightly between 2 of your fingers.  Press the floss between the teeth and under the gums and move the floss up and down with pressure against each tooth and tooth root.  Be sure to floss in between each tooth.  You can start in one corner of the mouth, and work your way across and over.  Unfortunately, flossing alone is not enough to remove all the plaque that forms between the teeth and under the gums.  It is still very important to come in twice per year for your professional dental cleaning.

What if I do not like to floss?

At Sachar Dental NYC, we are very well aware that many of our patients do not like to floss, and often do not floss on a regular basis.  For these patients, we recommend that they come in every three months for dental cleaning instead of every six months, in lieu of flossing every day.  This will allow the proper removal of plaque from under the gums and between the teeth to ensure you have healthy teeth and gums.

For your proper oral health, be sure to floss and brush every day.  Also be sure to call us to come in for your twice per year cleaning.

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