You should floss your teeth once a day.

Why should you brush your teeth?

Teeth are constantly being covered by a layer of bacteria known as “plaque”. The only way this layer can be removed is through brushing it off and flossing.

Manual or electrical – which is the better toothbrush?

The ideal toothbrush has a small head that allows you to reach the back teeth and soft bristles (to make sure they don’t damage teeth or gums). Rotating electrical toothbrushes are slightly better at removing plaque and not aggravating sensitive gums. Electrical toothbrushes are especially good for making sure you brush for at least two minutes and for people with hand function difficulties.

What’s the best way to brush?

The best way to brush with a manual toothbrush is to brush one tooth at a time with short strokes or circular movements. The best way to brush with an electric toothbrush is to hold it against one tooth at a time. There is no need to move the toothbrush back and forth because the rotational movement makes sure all surfaces are brushed. For electric toothbrushes, higher brushing power does not translate to more plaque being removed.

You do not need to brush your gums. Brushing your gums can damage them and cause the gum tissue to wear away.

Neither an electric nor a manual toothbrush can remove plaque well from between the teeth because the bristles do not reach that far.

Why do you need to floss?

You should floss once a day to wipe the surface between the teeth. Flossing is not about cleaning food out of your teeth but rather taking bacteria out of the surface between them. There are floss-holding devices available that may be particularly helpful for elderly people.

References

Daly, Christopher G. “Prescribing good oral hygiene for adults.” (2009).

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