How to take care of your teeth

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Find out how to properly take care of your teeth at home, why it’s so important, and how often you really need to go to the dentist.

Key points

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly to keep your teeth and gums healthy and help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Why is toothbrushing important?

Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque, which is the breakdown of food that coats your teeth. Brushing every day to remove plaque helps to prevent cavities and gum disease.

How to brush your teeth

Follow these steps to brush your teeth properly:

  1. Gently brush the outer surface of your teeth, tooth by tooth.
  2. At a 45-degree angle, brush against the gumline to get rid of plaque and food bits that may be trapped there.
  3. Gently brush the inner surface of your teeth, tooth by tooth.
  4. Clean the chewing surface of your teeth.
  5. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Remember: You should be brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months, or sooner if you have been sick.

Flossing

You also need to floss once per day. It doesn’t matter if you do this in the morning or at night. Flossing can help to prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. You might bleed and have some pain for the first few days if you haven’t flossed in a while, but this will go away with regular flossing.

How to floss your teeth

  1. Take a piece of floss about as long as your forearm.
  2. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving a two-inch gap between your hands.
  3. With your index fingers, slide the floss between the teeth and wrap it into a ‘C’ shape.
  4. Wipe the tooth from the gum to the tip at least two or three times.
  5. Use a new part of the floss for each tooth.

Floss both sides of each tooth and remember the backs of the last molars. Instead of standard floss, you can also use other flossing tools such as flossers/floss picks and water picks.

Other dental care tips

  • You can use a manual or electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes usually have a built in two-minute timer.
  • There are several different types of toothpastes you can use depending on your concerns (cavities, whitening, sensitivity). If you’re not sure what to use, talk to your dentist or hygienist.
  • Make regular appointments with your dentist. They can help to remove plaque build-up and identify other problems like cavities or gum disease.
Last updated: November 20th 2023