One of the best ways to keep your gums from bleeding when you come in for a cleaning is to floss regularly. Whether you floss before or after brushing is less important, so long as you floss! 80% of people worry about germs on a shopping cart, far less about germs in their mouths.
Although flossing, using mouthwash, and getting regular dental checkups are all effective ways to prevent more serious health problems, only one in three people flosses or rinses with mouthwash and fewer than half have frequent enough preventive dental visits.
Brushing your teeth
- Make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth and brush your gums away
- Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
- Use tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth, 5 seconds per tooth.
- Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth and remove gum tissue
- Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
- Don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes
Flossing your teeth
- Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1–2 inches in between for cleaning
- Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces between your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage to the gums
- Gently move the floss under the gum tissue until you feel resistance, curving the floss into a c-shape, move it up and down, move to the adjacent tooth, then move to the next tooth
- Repeat this process for all of your teeth