How often should I brush and floss?

Answer: You should brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily and floss daily.

Science and centuries of dental practice have demonstrated that if you don’t care for your teeth you will spend more time in the dental office and possibly even lose them prematurely. Dental visits are not a substitute for daily oral maintenance. Your Sacramento dentist is just one part of a comprehensive oral health strategy that will keep your teeth attractive and functional. You, your toothbrush and dental floss are the primary defense against dental disease and decay.

The primary enemy of your teeth is plaque, a film of leftover food and the bacteria that feed on it, which sticks to the teeth and gums. Acids created by plaque bacteria cause tartar and tooth decay. Both eventually destroy the teeth, gums and bone, the foundation of most dental problems.

Plaque forms and grows every day so you have to fight it just as often.

Tooth brushing is the first step towards maintaining a healthy smile.

Brushing twice daily is important to keep your teeth healthy.


Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.

  • Brush gently using small, circular motions, touching the gums with the bristles.
  • Brush every surface of each tooth.
  • Brush your tongue – this removes additional bacteria and improves your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended, since they remove plaque more efficiently when used according to specifications.


Flossing daily is the best method for cleaning between teeth and under the gums. It removes trapped food particles and disrupts plaque colonies, saving your teeth, gums and bone and making regular dental cleanings easier.

When flossing:

  • Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently inserting it between teeth with a sawing motion. Use a new section of floss for each quarter of your jaw.
  • Curve the floss around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the sides of each tooth

Floss holders are recommended only if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Water flossing and interdental brushes are additional flossing options.


Rinse your mouth with water after brushing to further disrupt bacteria and remove particles from your mouth. If you are unable to brush after a meal, sugar-free chewing gum and rinsing are short-term stopgaps until you can brush your teeth. Over-the-counter products for rinsing are beneficial; however, consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on the type that’s right for you.