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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Dental Care: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth
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
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.
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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