Oral Health For the Whole Family: Guide to Flossing and Brushing

teeth brushing oral health flossing graphicEvery family should strive for optimum oral health – in other words, healthy teeth and healthy gums. As such, parents should serve as a good example for their children. That means adopting a good oral health care regime for the entire family. And while day-to-day routine is essential, it’s equally important to help kids understand why oral health is important and how to do it right.

With oral health, family basics should be established early on. Brushing your teeth twice a day is basic (after breakfast and before bed). Flossing your teeth every day is also basic. And limiting snacks and munchies is also basic. More than that, regular clinic visits to the dentist should also become basic. For both young and old, oral health is about prevention and preserving health.

Proper Brushing and Flossing

With brushing and flossing, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that we have been brushing and flossing inadequately.  The better news is that we can all improve.

  • 2 minutes timer for teeth brushing Are you brushing for a full two minutes?
  • Are you brushing at least twice each day?
  • Are you flossing every day (at bedtime)?
  • Are you limiting your snacks/munchies?
  • Are you seeing the dentist semi-annually?

When it comes to flossing, the rules are quite stringent

  • Using about 24 inches of floss from the dispenser
  • Wrapping the floss around index and middle finger
  • Holding the floss tight around the tooth (a C shape) how to properly floss teeth graphic
  • Moving the floss - push-pull motion + up and down

Hard to believe, but tooth brushing also requires rules

  • Placing the toothbrush at a 45° angle
  • Moving the toothbrush back and forth
  • Repeating these actions for each tooth
  • Brushing the inside surface of the tooth
  • Brushing the chewing surface of a tooth
  • Using the tip of brush for behind a tooth
  • Brushing your tongue to clean bacteria

Fighting plaque is essential for optimum oral health

Fighting plaque is a worthwhile endeavour. Using the guidelines for day-to-day oral maintenance, plaque can be effectively removed, and tooth decay can be effectively prevented. Needless to say, snacking should be in teeth with plaque graphic fun moderation, and preferably nutritious. What’s most important is to instill dental habits as early as possible – particularly for infants as their initial teeth grow into place.

One aspect of oral health that should not be underestimated is the regular dental checkup. This is something that should be orchestrated for the whole family, and on a regular basis through the year. Going to the dentist only when something appears to be wrong is short-sighted – it doesn’t address the preventive approach to optimum oral health, which preferable and recommended.

In Woodbridge and Vaughan, the Mackenzie Dental Centre offers a preventive, comprehensive approach to oral health care. Dr. Lloyd Pedvis provides semi-annual examinations; routine cleanings; emergency treatments; and more involved dental procedures. To learn more, contact the clinic directly at 905-417-8700 and arrange for an appointment. For more information about various services, visit the clinic website at




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