Brushing & Flossing

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Brushing & Flossing

How long should you brush your teeth?

Take the time to carefully and gently clean each tooth, ideally twice each day. The average person brushes for less than 35 seconds. A good brushing takes two to three minutes. This is about the length of one song on the radio.

What type of toothbrush should you use?

Use a soft toothbrush, as this is less likely to damage your teeth and gums. Many people think that they do a better job of cleaning their teeth with a firmer toothbrush, but the opposite is actually true. Soft bristles bend more, so they reach into the nooks and crannies around the teeth better. Choose a size and shape of toothbrush that allows you to reach every tooth. People with smaller mouths should use a small adult or child's toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes also can do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Discuss the proper technique with your dentist or hygienist.

How often should you change your toothbrush?

We recommend that you change your toothbrush every three months or more often if you have been ill. If your toothbrush bristles look splayed before that, this is a sign that you are brushing too hard and may be damaging your teeth or gums.

How often should you floss?

You should floss at least once each day to clean between the teeth and under the gumline where a toothbrush cannot reach and where most cavities and gum disease start. If you are not flossing you are missing 35% of every tooth!

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