9 Important Brushing and Flossing Tips to Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy

Brushing and flossing are key if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and stave off tooth decay as well as gum disease. However for it to be effective, you need to brush and floss the right way.

It may surprise you how often people fall short of the mark when they brush and floss their teeth. If you’d like to make sure that isn’t the case and improve your brushing and flossing – there are 10 important tips that could make a world of difference.

Brush and Floss Regularly

It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. The best time to brush (if possible) is between 30 minutes to 1 hour of eating a meal so that you’re able to dislodge food particles and remove plaque that has just formed.

Taking a toothbrush to work may be a good idea – so you can quickly brush your teeth after lunch.

Keep in mind that food or drinks that are very acidic can weaken the enamel, so you should not brush your teeth immediately after consuming them.

Use a Soft Toothbrush

Although toothbrushes are available in soft, medium, and hard – it is almost always best to use soft toothbrushes. The fact of the matter is that hard bristles could end up damaging your teeth and gums if you brush vigorously, making them not worth the risk.

If you do want to use a hard toothbrush because you feel that a soft one isn’t removing enough plaque, you should first consult your dentist. That will allow you to get a clearer idea of all your options – including possibly switching to electric toothbrushes.

Brush with Circular Motion – Not Back and Forth

One of the more common mistakes that people make when brushing is to move the brush back and forth when brushing the front and back of the teeth. That back-and-forth motion can put pressure on your gums and eventually cause them to recede.

Instead of using a back-and-forth motion, you should angle your brush 45-degrees and use a circular motion to cover 2 or 3 teeth at the same time. It will be more effective at dislodging stray food particles between your teeth, and will reduce the risk of damaging your gums.

Massage – Not Scrub

Think of brushing your teeth as massaging them rather than scrubbing them. Scrubbing too hard is not only unnecessary, but it runs the risk of damaging your gums.

The plaque that has accumulated on your teeth will be soft and loose, so all that you really need to do is ‘massage’ it off with your brush. Hardened plaque (i.e. tartar) is not going to be removed by brushing alone, no matter how hard you scrub.

Set a Timer

Many people rush through their brushing, which invariably means that they aren’t being thorough enough. It is recommended that you spend at least 2 to 3 minutes brushing your teeth – and the best way to make sure that you’re doing that is to set a timer.

If you want you could use an egg timer, or you could just start a countdown clock on your phone. It will let you track how long you’re spending, and help you start to be more thorough.

Don’t Forget Other Surfaces

Try to remember that bacteria doesn’t just accumulate on your teeth – and can be present on other surfaces in your mouth as well – such as your gums, the roof and floor of your mouth, and your tongue.

Brushing your tongue a bit can help remove some of the trapped bacteria that is present, and will make your breath smell much fresher as well. On top of that you could rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash once you’re done brushing to help remove bacteria from the other surfaces too.

Replace Toothbrushes Often

Assuming you’re brushing regularly you should replace your toothbrush often. Typically it will probably start to look a bit frayed within 3 to 4 months, and should be replaced as soon as it does.

If your brushing technique is very vigorous your toothbrush may be frayed a lot sooner, and you may have to replace it more often. Frayed toothbrushes won’t be able to clean teeth as effectively, and you should avoid delaying too long before replacing them.

Find the Right Type of Floss

Flossing can be difficult, but finding the right type of floss for your teeth can help quite a bit. In general you can choose between nylon or multifilament floss that is waxed or unwaxed, or PTFE floss – which may be easier for sliding into tight gaps.

It can be a bit daunting to try out the various types of floss that are available nowadays, but consulting your dentist should be your first step. Many dentists will have free samples that they can provide so you can try numerous options.

Avoid Exerting Pressure on Gums While Flossing

If you aren’t careful flossing can actually damage your gums due to the pressure that it exerts. Try to make sure that you don’t snap the floss into your gums as you slide it between your teeth, or rub it too vigorously against it as you start to floss.

Don’t be alarmed if you feel a little bit of pain or your gums bleed if you’re flossing for the first time after a long time. However if it persists after a week or two, you should consult your dentist.


Embracing these tips should help you to improve your technique when you brush and floss your teeth and let you clean them much more effectively. For more advice you should talk to your Harley Street dentist at your next appointment.

All said and done there is no time like the present to start improving your oral hygiene regimen, and brushing and flossing is crucial to that. To put it simply it would be a good idea to start applying these tips as soon as the next time that you brush or floss your teeth.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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