Brushing and Flossing
Learn the importance of proper dental hygiene and how to properly brush and floss your teeth.
Brushing twice a day is important to keeping your teeth and gums healthy
and will help you maintain a lifelong smile. Brush your teeth for
at least two minutes each time. Ask a parent to set the timer on the
microwave, use an egg timer or hum your favorite song to make sure you
are brushing for the recommended time period.
Tips to brushing
your teeth properly:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree
angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in
short, tooth-wide strokes.
- Clean the inner, outer and chewing
surfaces of the teeth.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue
to prevent bad breath.
While brushing is very important, you also should floss at
least once a day to remove the plaque and sneaky pieces of food that get
stuck between your teeth, under the gums or under braces. Flossing
every day will help your mouth stay squeaky clean and will keep
your smile bright!
Here are some tips to floss the right
- Break off about 18 inches of floss.
- Wind most of
it around your middle finger, and the rest of it around the middle
finger of your other hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between the
thumb and index fingers, leaving about an inch of floss in between
- Gently insert the floss between two teeth and slide the
floss down to the gumline, using a gentle back and forth motion. Be
careful not to force the floss under the gums or snap the floss into the
gumline as this could hurt your gums.
- Curve the
floss around the edge of your tooth in the shape of the letter
“C” and slide it up and down the side of each
- Repeat the above process between all of your
- Remember to floss behind your back
Cavities and Plaque
Plaque is the sticky substance made up mostly of the germs that
cause tooth decay. When plaque sticks to your teeth, harmful acids can
eat away at the outer part of the tooth, called the enamel. When your
tooth decays, it can develop a hole, called a cavity. Over time,
cavities can get bigger and deeper, so it is important to get them
fixed right away. To fix a cavity, your dentist will remove the rotted
part of your tooth and then fill in the hole with a special material.
This is called a filling.
To take good care of your teeth and gums
and prevent cavities, PDA recommends the following
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Brushing after breakfast and before bedtime is
- Floss at least once a day to help remove plaque and
food particles that get stuck between your teeth and under your
- Eat nutritious
foods from the five major food groups – meat, dairy,
grain, fruits and vegetables. Limit snacking between meals and choose
nutritious snacks over sugary ones.
- Learn about
of teeth and read about the different types of teeth that make
up your smile!