How To: The Right Brushing and Flossing Techniques
Apr 18 2017

How To: The Right Brushing and Flossing Techniques

What is the Right Way to Brush?

Having the right tools and techniques for a proper oral homecare routine is crucial for good overall health of teeth and gums. This article will discuss more about what both your dentist and dental hygienist recommend for good oral health. Using the proper brushing technique can ensure the best way to remove the most plaque from your teeth and gums, which is important for decreasing risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease such as gingivitis.

Recommended Brushing Technique– To receive maximum benefits from brushing, use the following proper technique (see figure below for more details):

  • Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.
  • Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.
  • Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.
  • Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.
  • Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.

Brushing Tips:

  • We highly recommend a Sonicare or some sort of power tooth brush due to better plaque removal versus manual tooth brush.
  • Always use a soft or extra soft toothbrush (no Medium or Hard bristled brushes-these are too aggressive on your gums and can increase risk of gum recession and tooth abrasion).
  • Always use gentle brushing motion/technique.
  • Fluoridated toothpaste is highly recommended
  • o Patients with high risk for cavities may be recommended to use a prescription highly fluoridated toothpaste in order to decrease risk of further tooth decay.

  • Brush for at least 2 minutes, 2 times a day-morning and night.



Similar techniques apply when using a Sonicare or power toothbrush, main difference is that since the power toothbrush is doing the brushing for you, there is no need to do the scrubbing or brushing motions.

Simply place the power toothbrush along your teeth/gums as shown in the figures above and move the toothbrush slowly and gently along all teeth and teeth surfaces-NO SCRUBBING NEEDED.

What is the Right Way to Floss?

Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach-under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.

Recommended Flossing Technique- To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique (see figure below for more details):

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth, making a “C” shape with the floss as it hugs the each side of the tooth.
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go BENEATH the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue.
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.

Flossing Tips:

  • Do NOT use ORAL B GLIDE FLOSS. This floss is too slick and does not removed plaque very well. It may be super easy to use, but isn’t very beneficial for your gum health.
  • We recommend to try to use regular WAXED or UNWAXED floss.
  • For more thorough plaque removal, we strongly recommend EXPANDING or WOVEN floss. (both can be easily found on



For more information on the right brushing and flossing techniques, contact Dr. Mark Grace
or Dr. Tracy Adams at 206-623-5546 or at

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