Essential care

For essential care of your teeth, brushing and flossing instructions have to be followed meticulously. Brush teeth at least twice a day. This should be followed by flossing, though flossing is necessary only once a day. Brushing your teeth and flossing minimizes tooth decay and gum disease, which are major causes of tooth loss. Decay occurs when bacteria inside the mouth build acids. These acids eat away at tooth enamel, causing pain, infection and tooth loss. Among the many problems it creates is gingivitis or periodontitis (infection of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth).


Choose a toothpaste.

Toothpaste doesn’t merely keep teeth white. They fight bacteria that result in bad breath and dental plaque, which untreated, eventually leads to tooth decay. Toothpaste with fluoride helps to protect the teeth from cavities. A dentist can advise what type of toothpaste is best for you.


Choose a Toothbrush

They come in different sizes and shapes. They have more bristle varieties than you’ll ever need. In terms of size, the best is the one that reaches all your teeth. Depending on your technique, decide on the bristle density. Hard bristle toothbrushes can damage the protective tooth enamel. Again, your dentist will advise what type of toothbrush is best for you. You will have to change your toothbrush usually after three months of use.



Start with the outer and inner teeth surfaces. In a rotating motion, brush at a 45° angle against the gumline. For inner surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the bristle vertically. For chewing surfaces, use the flat edge, brushing back and forth. Brush the tongue: stroke back to front in a sweeping motion. This removes food particles and fights gingivitis.



Like choosing a toothbrush, there are many options for floss. Unless informed otherwise by your dentist, type of floss doesn’t matter, as long as it removes the plaque and food particles that your toothbrush left behind. Interdental brushes are also a good option. If you are using string, the strand should be at least 18” long, strapped around the middle finger with a 1” segment held tightly between thumb and forefinger of each hand. Ease floss between the teeth. Stroke up and down several times and curve around the gumline. As you move further into the mouth, unwind floss. Be sure to floss behind the last teeth in your mouth, as well as any abutment teeth of a bridge. There are also floss holders you can ask your dentist about. Use a floss threader to get under artificial teeth.

There may be bleeding of the gums or soreness. If it lasts more than a few days, see your dentist. Your dentist can supply you with detailed brushing and flossing instructions.