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Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is imperative for ideal oral health. Not only is it important to brush and floss regularly, it is imperative that you do so with proper technique. Proper dental hygiene will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. When selecting a toothbrush, choose one with soft bristles and a head that is small enough to reach all areas of your mouth. You may also select an electronic toothbrush that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Buy a new toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months. Use a fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride provides extra protection against decay. Brush using a 45-degree angle where the teeth meet the gums. Press firmly, brushing with small circular movements. Do not scrub or brush vigorously, as this can scratch the tooth enamel or cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, paying special attention to the front and back teeth. Brush your tongue from back to front, as this can help prevent bad breath.

Floss at least once daily with the floss of your choice. There are several acceptable flossing methods, including:

Finger-Wrap Method: Cut off an 18 inch piece of floss. Wrap the ends around your middle fingers until your hands are two to three inches apart.
Circle Method: Cut a 12 inch piece of floss and tie the ends together to form a loop. If the loop is too large, wrap it around your fingers a few times.
Plastic Flossing Tool: Plastic flossing tools can make things easier. They can be purchased at most drug stores.

Gently work the floss between your teeth and towards the gums. Curve your floss around each tooth in a C-shape. Gently slide the floss under the gum line and move the floss up and down several times to scrape off plaque. If flossing causes the gums to bleed, this should stop as your gums become healthier. Contact your dentist today with any questions or concerns about dental hygiene or your oral health.