Basic Steps to Prepare Your Mouth for the Night: Flossing. Brushing. Rinsing.
According to Dr. Randeep Bhullar, DDS, (Reach Dental, Lawrenceville, GA) the three basic steps to a good nighttime oral care are flossing, brushing and rinsing. These are the three basic nighttime oral hygiene that must be followed in a disciplined regiment. Dr. Bhullar contends that brushing should be done first before flossing because he feels that brushing makes it easier to floss because brushing helps to loosen the debris lodged between teeth thereby making it easier to floss.
For the most part, brushing your teeth helps protect them from plaque buildup and tooth decay. Using a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that contains fluoride, start brushing your teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gums. The correct method, according to the American Dental Association, is to brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes. The ADA suggests brushing the outer tooth surfaces first, then working your way through the inner tooth surfaces and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. The association also recommends using the “toe” of the brush to clean the backs of your front teeth with gentle up-and-down strokes.
In most cases, the idea of brushing right after dinner, before bed, or both depends on your susceptibility to dental disease. Because recent studies have shown that the risk for dental disease varies from person to person, dentists are now following medical models of dental disease to determine their patients’ susceptibility and the type of care they need. “People who are at a low risk for cavities and gum disease may choose to wait until bedtime to brush. Higher-risk patients may benefit from both an after-dinner and a bedtime brushing,” infers Dr. Bhullar.
Generally, cleaning between your teeth with floss allows you to reach plaque that you can’t remove with a toothbrush. Flossing at least once a day will also help prevent periodontal (gum) disease. To floss properly, the ADA recommends using an 18-inch-long strand, winding most of it around your middle fingers (to manage the floss as it gets dirty), and then holding the remaining floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Next, use a gentle rubbing motion to guide the floss between your teeth. As you move toward the gum line, curve the floss into a C shape against each tooth, rubbing back and forth against the tooth as you go. When you get to the root of the tooth, slide the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth and keep rubbing gently. Then slowly move the floss away from the gum with an up-and-down motion, and repeat for the rest of your teeth, including the backsides of your last teeth on the top and bottom of your mouth.
Finally, rinsing with a mouthwash helps keep your breath fresh, protects your teeth by keeping them free of plaque and cavity, and prevents your gums from gingivitis. As you well know, most mouthwashes are sold over the counter, though some require prescriptions. Following the instructions on the packaging tends to yield the intended outcome.