With the New Year fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your resolutions. At Surf City Dental, we think at least one of your goals should focus on maintaining good oral hygiene. But why wait until January to start? Get a jump on your New Year’s resolutions and incorporate Surf City’s simple, three-step process into your routine today!

Step 1: Floss

For some reason, flossing is one of the hardest oral health practices to keep up, but it’s also one of the most important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Surf City Dental recommends you floss once a day, ideally before you brush your teeth at night. Flossing loosens plaque on and in between teeth, making it easier for brushing to remove. It also uncovers food particles and bacteria that can hide places your toothbrush can’t reach.

When you floss, start with a piece that is approximately a foot and a half long, or long enough for each tooth to be flossed using a clean section of dental tape. Wrap each end around your middle fingers and grip both sides tightly using your thumbs and index fingers. Move the floss back and forth, gently sliding it in between each tooth. Pulling the twine into a “C” shape, scrape the sides of your teeth from the top down to the gum line and back up. Move around your entire mouth, unwinding a fresh piece of floss for each tooth.

If maneuvering a strand of dental floss is too difficult, you can opt for a pre-threaded stick or other interdental cleaner like a dental pick, water flosser, or tiny brush that fits between teeth.

Step 2: Brush

Now that you’ve loosened plaque and food particles by flossing, brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, aiming the bristles at where your teeth and gum meet. Apply gentle pressure and use both circular and short, back-and-forth motions. Move your brush up and down to clean the front and back sides of your teeth, and side-to-side to tackle flat chewing surfaces. Continue brushing for about two minutes, focusing on each quadrant of your mouth for 30 seconds. When you’re done, scrub your tongue with your toothbrush or scrape it with a piece of floss to rid it of bacteria and residue.

Brush your teeth two times a day, preferably once in the morning and once right before bed. If you can, use an electric toothbrush, as these generally work better to remove plaque and prevent gingivitis. Pay attention to how much pressure you’re using when you brush as well; pressing too hard can damage the enamel and cause teeth to become sensitive. We recommend you wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages to brush your teeth. Acid buildup can break down tooth enamel and the pressure from brushing may cause damage.

Step 3: Rinse

Now that you’ve flossed and brushed, rinse your teeth, gums, and tongue using a fluoride mouthwash. Fluoride helps prevent decay by encouraging teeth to become more resistant to acid and plaque buildup. Take a capful in your mouth and swish it around for approximately 30 seconds. This final step helps clear away toothpaste residue, food particles, and bacteria that even flossing and brushing can miss! Plus, it leaves your mouth feeling extra clean and refreshed!

It really is as simple as 1, 2, 3! Practice this Surf City Dental routine consistently, focusing on proper technique, and your mouth will dazzle all year long!