For most patients, the standard brush 2 times per day and floss daily is acceptable.  Ideal homecare would be brush after every time you eat and floss at least once per day.

Brushing: While an electric toothbrush with rotary/oscillating motion (such as Oral-B) has been proven to be superior at plaque and food removal, at the very least a manual toothbrush with SOFT bristles should be used for 2 minutes 2 times per day.  Patients should avoid an active horizontal scrubbing motion and rather use a passive circular motion around all aspects of the teeth to the gum line.  An active horizontal scrubbing motion can lead to gum recession, which could require a surgical procedure to correct.  Passive pressure is all that is indicated as plaque is easily removed with this light pressure.  Once plaque hardens to calculus (tartar), it can’t be removed with a toothbrush, no matter how hard you brush.  At that point, your friendly hygienist will need dental instruments to remove it.  So a hard scrubbing motion still doesn’t remove the tartar, but can damage your gums.

Flossing: Use approximately 18 inches of floss and wrap tightly around your index fingers.  Gently slide the floss in between two adjacent teeth.  Wrap the floss in a C-shape around the back tooth and gently slide the floss up and down under the gum line. Then before taking the floss out, wrap the floss in a C-shape around the front tooth and repeat.  Repeat this for every tooth and you will have properly flossed all of your teeth.  This is one of the most important, yet overlooked parts of oral hygiene. Lack of flossing is the main contributor to periodontal (gum) problems and interproximal (in between teeth) decay.

Rinsing: Whether you are using a prescribed mouth rinse, or an over the counter brand, mouth rinses can greatly help with disease prevention and oral hygiene, but are only effective after proper brushing an flossing. Make sure your the mouth rinse does not contain alcohol, however, as this will dry out your gums. If you are unsure which mouth rinse is right for you, ask one of your hygienists or dentists.