Preventive Dentistry

General Tooth Care

Correct Brushing Technique:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums
  • Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes
  • Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • Use the "toe" of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
  • To protect your toothbrush from bacteria, follow the steps listed below.


  • Wash your hands before and after brushing
  • Allow the brush to air dry after each use, since the bacteria most harmful will die when exposed to oxygen
  • Store the toothbrush in an upright position, so water drains from it and it dries faster
  • Replace it every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles appear worn or you've had a cold or flu to prevent possible reinfection
  • Clean the cover or container often to kill potentially harmful bacteria that could cause periodontal diseases, a serious bacterial infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds teeth in the mouth

Do not:

  • Share your toothbrush. The exchange of body fluids from sharing toothbrushes could increase the risk for infections
  • Re-use or share the same disinfecting solutions or mouthwashes to disinfect toothbrushes because this can lead to cross-contamination
  • Routinely cover toothbrushes or store in closed containers. This creates a humid environment that is more susceptible to bacterial growth
  • Use a community toothbrush holder. If you must, clean it often and make sure that the bristles do not touch one another
  • Touch the toothpaste tube to your toothbrush

Correct Flossing Technique:

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers
  • Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions
  • Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth
  • Don't forget the back side of your last tooth