Brushing and Flossing

If we were to break down a great oral hygiene routine into two core components of equal importance, the first would be regular visits and cleanings with your dentist, and the second would be a consistent brushing and flossing regimen at home. The cleanings with Dr. Hanna will clear away plaque and bacteria build up that brushing and flossing can't get and those visits should only be necessary twice per year. In those six months between those visits, protecting your smile from decay is up to you and your oral hygiene routine at home. With the right tools and technique, a good brushing a flossing regimen will be more than enough to keep your smile healthy and radiant between visits to our office.

To make sure that smile of yours lasts a lifetime, we've put together this helpful guide with all the information you need to maintain an optimal oral hygiene routine. The more consistent you are with your oral health care, the less likely you are to need more dental treatment in the future beyond your normal cleanings.

Proper Brushing Technique


Before you start brushing, make sure you have the right tools to get the job done right. We recommend using a toothbrush that has soft bristles so you don’t damage your gums, plus toothpaste with fluoride to give your teeth some much-needed vitamins and minerals to keep them strong.

For brushing technique, you should hold the brush at a 45 degree angle so the brush is slightly facing your gum line, and start moving the brush around in small, circular motions. The angle will help the bristles clear away bits of food that may be stuck slightly under your gums, while cleaning the entire tooth surface at the same time. Make sure you maintain the same form for your upper and bottom teeth on both the front and back sides. Finally, brush along the chewing surfaces of your teeth and you'll be done. It's recommended that you brush for at least two minutes after every meal and before you go to sleep.

How To Floss Properly

flossFlossing is a vital part of your home oral hygiene routine because there are places in your mouth that your toothbrush just can’t reach. If you don’t floss, you’re leaving a bunch of food particles and bacteria just sitting there between your teeth that will start to decay your smile in no time. So to prevent that from happening, grab your floss and pull out a thread that is about 12 to 15 inches long.

Before you start flossing, wrap both ends around both your middle fingers (or whichever fingers you prefer) so you can pull the thread taut, making it easier to slide it in between your teeth. Next, gently guide the floss between all of your teeth, pulling the floss down to the gum line so it can clear away any bacteria or food particles. Every time you floss one tooth, make sure you move to a clean piece of the thread. Once you've flossed between every tooth, your mouth should be perfectly clean. We recommend flossing before you sleep, after you've already brushed your teeth. If your gums start bleeding while you're flossing, don't worry as it is perfectly normal, and your gums should stop bleeding the more consistent you are with your flossing.

Contact Your Kalamazoo, MI General Dentist!

If you have any questions about proper brushing and flossing technique so you can make sure you’re cavity free at your next visit with Dr. Hanna, just contact us and a member of our staff will be more than happy to help you. At Briarwood Valley Dentistry, we’ve been helping patients from Kalamazoo, Portage, and Galesburg, MI achieve healthier smiles for over 27 years by always offering the best dental care available. To schedule an appointment for your next cleaning, you can reach out to us by phone at 269-349-3203, or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing your glistening smile in our office soon!