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How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

Regular teeth brushing and flossing should be part of any good at-home oral hygiene routine. Our Burnaby dentists offer tried-and-true tips on how to brush and floss your teeth. 

When it comes to maintaining your oral health, preventive hygiene plays an important role in preventing disease and keeping your mouth clean and fresh. While you make sure to come into your dentist's office for regular dental cleanings and exams, you might be a bit unsure about how often you really need to brush, floss and practice your oral health care routine at home. 

At every appointment, your dentist will remind you that brushing and flossing are critical to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Completing these two tasks daily also help to remove bacteria that lead to plaque and tooth decay, and later progress into gum disease. 

Today, our dentist will explain how often you should brush and give tips on proper techniques. 

Reliable Brushing & Flossing Techniques 

If you perform these techniques consistently, you'll be well on your way to maintaining excellent oral health. 

Clean every surface of each of the teeth in your mouth, including the tongue side, cheek side and chewing surface. Keep your brush at a 45-degree angle and brush in a sweeping motion. Use a downward sweeping motion for your upper teeth and an upward sweeping motion for your lower teeth. For chewing surfaces only, brush back and forth. 

Ideally, after each meal you should take time to brush for two minutes each time (no longer than four minutes). After you eat, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. We recommend brushing twice a day at minimum, and always before bedtime. You might want to set a timer to ensure your brushing lasts long enough. 

At least once every day, floss between your teeth — preferably before you go to bed in the evening. When you floss, you are dislodging debris and buildup from between your teeth in places you are not able to reach with your toothbrush. Insert the string of floss between two teeth and run it up and down the side of each, pulling it into a "c" shape in both directions. Do this slowly and thoroughly, and ensure your floss between every two teeth. 

Professional Dental Cleanings & Exams 

Seeing your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and exam is vital to maintaining your oral health. Your dentist has the tools and knowledge required to eliminate plaque and tartar buildup that you won't be able to remove yourself with brushing and flossing. 

During these regular visits, your dentist will check for dental issues in their early stages and treat them before they become larger problems. 

Oral health issues such as cavities, gum disease and even cysts, tumors and abnormalities are often not noticed by the untrained eye (or even a patient's own eye) in their early stages. This is why it's important to have a dental professional regularly examine your mouth. 

Wondering how you can improve your brushing and flossing habits? Contact your Burnaby dentist to schedule an exam today. We're here to help you achieve a happy, healthy and comfortable smile.

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