Brushing & Flossing

At Altoona Smiles, we champion the cornerstone habits of oral health: brushing and flossing. Dive into our comprehensive guide to understand their significance and master the techniques that pave the way for a lifetime of radiant smiles
toothbrush and dental floss

A radiant smile goes beyond mere aesthetics. At the heart of every sparkling smile lies a regimen of consistent and proper oral care. Brushing and flossing stand as the two pillars of this foundation. At Altoona Smiles, our commitment extends beyond just treatments. We believe in imparting knowledge about these essential habits to our esteemed clientele.


A dental professional showing an example of good Brushing technique

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • After dinner
  • At bedtime

As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.


A woman preparing dental floss to practice flossing

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

Why is Brushing & Flossing Important?

Your mouth is more than just a tool for eating and speaking; it’s a bustling hub of activities with bacteria playing a significant role. Here’s why a diligent brushing and flossing routine is indispensable:

  • Plaque Combat: The soft film that accumulates on your teeth, called plaque, houses bacteria. Left unchecked, these can lead to cavities.
  • Gum Disease Prevention: Regular brushing and flossing help prevent the onset of gingivitis, a precursor to more severe gum diseases.
  • Fresh Breath: Nothing’s worse than bad breath during an intimate conversation. Proper oral hygiene ensures your breath remains fresh.
  • Stain Prevention: Regular brushing wards off stains, ensuring your teeth retain their natural sparkle.
  • Overall Health: Recent studies hint at a link between oral health and overall health, with poor oral hygiene possibly leading to heart diseases and diabetes.

Best Practices for Brushing & Flossing:

  • Brushing:
    • Choose the Right Tool: A soft-bristled brush that comfortably fits in your mouth is ideal for effective cleaning without causing any harm.
    • Master the Technique: Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and employ short, gentle strokes, ensuring all tooth surfaces—outer, inner, and chewing—are covered.
    • Be Consistent: For optimal results, brush for a minimum of two minutes, twice daily, prioritizing bedtime.
  • Flossing:
    • Perfect the Method: Start with roughly 18 inches of floss, winding the majority around your middle fingers. Using your thumbs and forefingers, deftly glide the floss between your teeth, conforming to a C-shape curve against each tooth.
    • Make It a Habit: To effectively clear out hidden food remnants and bacteria, it’s crucial to floss daily.

By adhering to these best practices, you enhance your chances of maintaining excellent oral health and a sparkling smile.


Embracing a rigorous brushing and flossing routine not only fortifies your oral health but also ensures a confident and beaming smile. With consistent care, fewer dental issues arise, leading to less time in the dentist’s chair and more time enjoying life with a radiant smile.

Your brightest smile begins with the right habits!

Ready to perfect your brushing and flossing technique? Or perhaps seeking more insights on maintaining optimal oral health? The expert doctors at Altoona Smiles are here to guide you every step of the way. Connect with us at 515-200-1299 or request an appointment online for comprehensive guidance on all things oral health.