Brushing and Flossing Instructions
Hi this is Dr. Anna and today I am going to go over with you my tooth brushing and flossing technique.
So first I start off with flossing. And there are various techniques which we can go about flossing our teeth. And there’s also tooth brushing techniques which can be either with a manual toothbrush or an electronic toothbrush. So I’m going to go over both. And lastly, we’re going to use a dry mouth product, over the counter product and in this case it’s going to be a dry mouth mouthwash.
Before I jump into my demonstration I want to explain why I chose the technique that I am using. This picture shows the natural positioning of teeth. You see how they contact each other on the bottom, but as you move up towards the gums, there actually is space there, it is shaped like a triangle and that is what I will call it for simplicity reasons.
I marked this area with a red triangle as shown in the picture. As you can see this space is not even. It is very small where the teeth touch each other and gets bigger where it is closer to the gums. When we clean our teeth we have to make sure we clean the entire area. This is where a lot of the food, bacteria, plaque and calculus gets stuck. If there is food that stays in the triangle for longer periods of time, bacteria will feed off of it, grow, and cause cavities which cn progress to teeth infections and possible tooth loss. Many people think that brushing alone is enough, but unfortunately that is not true. Toothbrush bristles cannot get through that contact and into that triangle space. So if you are not flossing, you are literally not cleaning about 30-35 % of the surface of your teeth and you are leaving behind food and bacteria free to roam around and start cavities.
So, how to floss correctly? If we floss through our teeth and make only a straight up and down motion (shown by the red line) we are missing important areas of that triangle (shown by the black arrows).
To fix that, we change the direction of our floss. So, after getting the floss through the contact (shown by the black line) we bend the floss to the front so it contacts the front of the triangle (shown by the red curved line). We know we hit the front of the triangle when we feel a stop. Next, we make gentle and slight up and down motions to further clean that area.
Next we bend the floss to the back so it cleans the back of the triangle (again making gentle the up and down motions when we feel the stop), lastly we remove the floss back out through the contact.
Ok, so now that we understand the background let’s see how we go about it in practice.
First, for flossing your teeth, take a long piece of floss and roll it around your index fingers and use your thumbs or middle fingers for support .
Proceed with the top back teeth, placing the floss in the back of the furthest tooth in the back. Notice how I am making subtle motions up and down as I am hitting the front and back areas of the triangle.
When you are done, pull the floss out through that contact and move forward to the contact the neighboring teeth. Again, pay attention as I am bending the floss to the front and back, making small up and down movements when I hit my stop points.
For the bottom teeth we have to change the way we hold our floss. We will still wrap it around our index fingers but use our middle fingers to guide the floss. This is not set in stone and you are free to find any setup that works for you. All that really matters is that you clean that triangle thoroughly.
We proceed with the same protocol for the bottom teeth. Floss through the contacts, bend floss to the front, small up and down motions, then bend it to the back, small up and down motions, take the floss out through the contact and proceed forward to the neighboring contacts.
I will stop my demonstration midway, but you should proceed to the next side of the top and bottom teeth following the same protocol.
If you do not want to or cannot use regular floss you can use an interdental flossup. They are much easier to use and serve the same function.
The same concept applies here. Get the flossup through the contact, move it forward to the front of triangle until you hit the stop, small up and down motions and then move to the back until you hit the stop and up and down motions again. I use the motion of biting down with my bottom teeth to get the floss through the contact, you do whatever is most comfortable for you.
Same concept applies for the bottom teeth but in this case I am biting down with my top teeth to get through the contact with the floss.
If you end up getting food stuck on the floss you can wash it off before you proceed with flossing or you can change the flossup for a new one.
Do not worry if it’s difficult to get it right right away, just practice and continue to watch this video as many times as necessary and it will be second nature in no time.
Another option for cleaning the triangle is with an interproximal brush. As you can see, it is very easy to use. All you do is put the brush between teeth into the triangle area and make a forward and backward motion. Proceed to clean all triangle areas in the teeth on the top and bottom.
This method is useful especially in patients that have a lot of crown and bridge work done and when reach is difficult, or for those who have a very hard time flossing.
Now we are going to move on to brushing. First it is important to understand that teeth have 3 surfaces, which we need to brush using different positioning of the toothbrush.
The first (number 1) is the outer portion where the tooth touches the gums, second (number 2) is the top of the tooth where chewing takes place and third (number 3) is the inner portion where the tooth touches the gums.
Ok so lets see how this works in practice. We take our toothbrush and place toothpaste on it. Then we apply the bristles to the outer surface of the teeth where it partially touches the gums (the first surface) and brush in a circular motion moving slowly to the front. Then we change direction of the toothbrush to brush the top of the tooth (the second surface) in a forward and backward motion, lastly we move to the inner portion of the teeth (third surface) where we go back again to using a circular motion.
We repeat the same motions for the bottom teeth.
Notice I use circular motion in the areas there we are brushing part of the gums (surfaces one and 3) because it is a great way to cleanse the area while being gentle on the gums at the same time.
Next, I will demonstrate how to use an electronic toothbrush. The goal is the same: to clean all the 3 teeth surfaces. With electronic toothbrush however we do not have to worry about applying circular motion. All we have to do is place the bristles in the 3 positions brush will do the rest. This is my personal preferred way of brushing my teeth as it is easier and, in some studies, had been shown to better clean teeth.
Finally, for those who experience dry mouth, this is the time to apply a dry mouth product such as dry mouth spray, dry mouth mouthwash, oral adhesive discs etc. In today’s video I will apply the Certified 100% Organic, No-chemical, Concentrated Smile Genius Mouthwash for Dry Mouth Relief. Because it is concentrated we need to dilute it with water, 1 part of mouthwash to 10 parts waters.
Swish for 20-30 seconds and spit, do not rinse with water. Let the oils coat your oral cavity for added moisture.
If you are at higher risk for cavities you should not only do this flossing and brushing routine twice per day, but after every meal. Do not leave food on and in between your teeth for bacteria to feed off of and start cavities.
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