Brush and Floss: Good Beginnings for Family Dental Care


Good oral health requires regular dental exams and consistent at-home care.  You visit your dentist every six months for an exam and professional cleaning. That’s good, but not enough. Brushing and flossing are equally important if you want to avoid cavities and other oral problems that affect your health and appearance.

The best family dental care begins with good home care routines.  Your teeth need effective cleaning. Food debris and plaques found inside your can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.  Brushing and flossing are by far the most effective means of removing the food debris and plaque.

Unfortunately, many patients do not know how to effectively clean their teeth.  Quickly swishing a brush around with toothpaste on it may make your mouth feel clean (because of the minty toothpaste). The problem is that unless the plaque is physically removed it remains snugly attached to your teeth.  So you have to learn how to brush and floss.

There is a right way to brush.

Proper teeth brushing should take at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! That’s 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. Use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline and hard-to-reach back teeth. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section. If you use an electric toothbrush with an interval timer you can easily keep track of the sections. Ask your hygienist for tips to help you improve your technique. Set a goal of brushing twice a day.

Take the flossing challenge.

As any first-timer knows, flossing is not as easy as it looks. Yet learning how to floss properly is basic for good oral hygiene. Flossing backs up your toothbrush. It cleans the tight spaces in between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Proper flossing has a big payback – helps keep your teeth healthy and beautiful for years to come. Floss once a day. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing before you go to bed at night.

Start early.

Even children can learn techniques for effective brushing. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show your young children how to brush and floss. Then keep track on a daily basis.  The goal is 2 minutes 2 times each day. Rewards for success will help establish a lifelong routine.

Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!

Dr. Nishan Halim


Capitol Hill DC dentist Dr. Halim will work with your family to set up good practices for healthy family dental care. Contact him to schedule an appointment.


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