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Proper Hygiene

Proper Hygiene

Brentwood Dental Proper Hygiene

A review of recent studies concluded that electric toothbrushes with circular bristle heads that rotate in alternating directions are better at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease than ordinary manual toothbrushes.

Over the short term of one to three months, the rotating brushes reduced plaque by 11 percent over manual toothbrushes and reduced the signs of gingivitis, or gum inflammation, by six percent over the regular brushes, according to Peter Robinson of Sheffield University in Sheffield, England, and colleagues. The electric brushes reduced gingivitis by 17 percent over the manual brushes after more than three months’ use.

The researchers found no evidence that electric brushes of any kind caused more gum damage than manual brushes. Despite the better performance by the rotating electric brushes, the benefits of regular brushing “occur whether the brush is manual or electric, and the results of this review do not indicate that toothbrushing is only worthwhile with a electric toothbrush,” the researchers write.

Proper Brushing

Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums. An electric toothbrush will help you to brush in the manner outlined below and is less irritating on the gums.

Place bristles along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line.

Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back & forth rolling motion.

Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat.

Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.

Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.

Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless, but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.

Proper Flossing

Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.

To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth


There are two types of floss from which to choose:

  • Nylon (or multifilament) floss
  • PTFE (monofilament) floss
  • Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris

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