Brushing and flossing

Choosing a toothbrush

It would seem that there is little consistency in the style and form of recommended toothbrushes. Many dentists recommend a rectangular-shaped soft mylon brush with curves and tufts. Others prefer a harder brush that softens after use. The advantage of a soft brush is that it can be used against the gums and teeth with less risk of abrasion. That is why a soft nylon brush is better for children. However, a medium-hard brush cleans the hard surfaces of teeth better. If your teeth do not feel smooth when you run your tongue over them after brushing, switch to a harder toothbrush. Although tuft design and head angle may not be very important, a small head, a good handle grip and a rubber gum stimulator on the handle are.
The toothbrush should be replaced before it has lost its shape and the bristles are bent. It should also be replaced if you have been sick or had a cold.

Why toothpaste?

Toothpaste not only helps our teeth look brighter, it has other helpful purposes. Toothpaste typically contains a detergent compound to penetrate and loosen deposits and stains on tooth surfaces so they can be more easily removed during toothbrushing.
Toothpaste also contains cleaning and polishing agents to produce a smooth, shiny surface that can inhibit the accumulation and retention of plaque. In addition, flavouring agents found in toothpaste can make the mouth and breath feel clean. Toothpastes containing fluoride can help strengthen the teeth’s outer layer -- the enamel – to help prevent cavity formation.
Some toothpastes have tartar-control properties to minimize tartar (mineralized plaque) buildup. Others have special tooth whitening properties. Some help reduce tooth sensitivity, and still others have antimicrobial agents to help control the bacteria
responsible for gum disease.

Flossing tips

Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and under the gumline, areas where the toothbrush cannot reach. If you have not been in the habit of flossing, it is never too late to start. Initially, your gums may bleed when you begin flossing. The bleeding should stop in a few days as your gums become healthier.
When flossing, keep in mind these tips. Gently ease the floss between the teeth and gumline. Never snap it. Form a “c” against the side of each tooth and gently rub the floss up and down against the tooth, moving it from under the gumline to the top. Establish a regular pattern of flossing and remember to floss the backside of the last teeth. If you have dexterity problems or a physical disability you may find a dental flossing wand to work effectively for you.