Hopefully, you’ve done it all your life, but brushing and flossing your teeth is only effective if done correctly. Even if you believe you’re practicing good hygiene, the dental plaque that you may be missing can still lead to tooth decay, gum disease, chronic bad breath, and other dental issues. Improperly brushing your teeth may prove as bad for your oral health as not brushing them at all. Luckily, correct hygiene isn’t difficult; just ask your dentist if you’re brushing your teeth right, and follow his advice if you aren’t.
You know the sticky stuff that clings to your teeth once in a while? It’s called plaque, and it forms when you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while. Comprised of hundreds of oral bacteria, dental plaque is the target of your hygiene routine, and removing it is essential to protecting your teeth and gums from disease. Carefully brushing every surface of every tooth and flossing between them can effectively remove bacteria and plaque. But if you scrub too harshly, you may strip your teeth of the enamel that surrounds them. Tooth enamel is the first line of defense against bacteria, and you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush (with the ADA-approved logo on its packaging) to gently brush away plaque and debris.