How to Brush
Soft and extra soft toothbrushes are the best toothbrushes to use because medium and hard toothbrushes can scrub away parts of the actual tooth and cause your gums to recede. It is always best to start brushing the chewing parts of your teeth first because the first strokes tend to be when you are the most “heavy-handed.” Brushing “heavy-handed” can put too much abrasion on the gums and lead to gum recession. When brushing by the gums, position the toothbrush at a 45° angle to the tooth and barely massage the gums with the ends of the bristles.
If you use a manual toothbrush, you must have the proper technique in order for the brushing to be effective. Use small, circular motions (don’t scrub!) and focus on two teeth at a time. Electric toothbrushes do an excellent job of taking the technique out of brushing. Most dental professionals use electric toothbrushes because they are much easier to use and tend to do a better job. Despite personal preferences of electric toothbrush brands (Sonicare, Oral B, Burst), they all do a good job. Brush for two minutes every morning and night, at the minimum.
How to Floss
Cut a piece of floss anywhere between 12-24” long. The bigger your hands are, the longer the floss you’ll want. When Dr. Frost is flossing his top teeth, he wraps the floss around his index fingers and uses his thumbs to push it between his teeth. He then wraps the floss around his middle fingers when he is flossing his bottom teeth and uses his index fingers to push the floss between his teeth. Do what works for you! Once the floss has “popped” and is between your teeth, bend the floss so it forms a “C” around each individual tooth. Scrub one side of your tooth with the floss by moving the floss up and down 3-4 times and then form a “C” around the other tooth and repeat the scrubbing process. Remove the floss from between those teeth and move on to the next area. Flossing should be done right before bed as opposed to when you wake up.
If you have difficulty flossing, interdental brushes may be an easier way to clean between your teeth. These brushes look like pipe cleaners and are shaped like a Christmas tree. Bend the brush at a 45° angle and run it between all of your teeth pushing it in and out 3-4 times.
Oral irrigators, or Water Piks, are another commonly used method for cleaning between your teeth. Dr. Frost recommends that oral irrigators don’t replace floss or interdental brushes. They may be used in addition to floss or interdental brushes. It is normal for your gums to bleed a little during the first week or two of flossing. If flossing is painful, try flossing a little softer as you may be pinching the gums. Your gums are bleeding due to the inflammation caused by dental plaque on your teeth. Keep flossing and after a week or two your gums should no longer bleed.