Brushing and Flossing

Why is Cleaning of Teeth Necessary?

Oral health greatly depends on how well the teeth are cleaned and how they are taken care on a daily
Brushing and Flossing are the first and important steps for a good oral health. These actions should not be
performed as a mechanical process. They have to be performed in the correct manner with proper
Gum diseases are prevented by ensuring that the area where the teeth touches the gum is kept clean
whereas cavities can be warded off by keeping the surface of the teeth clean.

Correct Time for Cleaning Teeth

  • Ideally, one should brush their teeth after every meal because the action of bacteria starts immediately after eating.
  • One should brush their teeth at least once in the morning and once before they go to bed.


  • The brushing of the teeth has two main features, the equipment and the procedure to be used. An ideal brushing equipment must have the following:
  • A brush with soft bristles and the right size that will fit in the mouth. It needs to be replaced every three months or whenever the bristles appear to be frayed or distorted.
  • A fluoride toothpaste

Brushing Procedure

  1. Hold the toothbrush with the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees to the gum line.
  2. Don’t exert too much pressure on the bristles but gently place them on the teeth so that you can just feel them between gums and teeth.
  3. While brushing use short, circular strokes and opt for a massaging motion rather than scrubbing them hard. Vigorous brushing can lead to the gums receding after a long time.
  4. Brush the inner and outer surfaces of the tooth thoroughly along the gum line.
  5. Brush the chewing surfaces thoroughly.
  6. Make sure you brush for at least two minutes and move the brush along your teeth because the toothbrush can reach only one or two teeth at a time.
  7. Watch yourself in the mirror and make sure that all parts of the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
  8. Brush your tongue also since bacteria can reside within the taste buds and result in a bad mouth odour. 


Flossing should be made part of your daily routine since it will help in eliminating bacteria and plaque from the hard to reach places of your teeth, which is nearly one-third area of the tooth.
Plaque is a major cause of most gum diseases. It comprises of bacteria that forms a thin and nearly invisible film over the teeth and can ultimately lead to tooth decay. Plaque can harden to tartar within 24 to 36 hours and can be removed only by professional cleaning.

Flossing Procedure

  1. Take appropriate length of dental floss.
  2. Wrap it around the middle finger and index finger leaving a couple of inches in between.
  3. Form a ‘C’ shape by sliding the floss between the teeth and around its base, just below the gumline.
  4. Then gently glide the floss from the base to tip of the tooth. Do this a couple of times on both sides of the tooth.
  5. Periodically replace floss as it wears off after removing the food particles.
  6. Continue this method for every tooth, especially the molars.
  7. It is a good practice to brush your teeth after flossing.

One should visit the dentist every six months to ensure good oral health. Oral health is important not only to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases but can also ultimately control much serious issues like cardiovascular diseases.

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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