How Does Brushing And Flossing Help Your Smile?

We often tell our patients that they need to brush and floss daily. After all, these simple actions are crucial for keeping smiles healthy and strong. But how exactly does cleaning your teeth each day help fight issues like tooth decay and gum disease? When should you see your Austin, MN, dentists for treatment?

The Dangers of Plaque and Tartar

Over time, bits of food become stuck between our teeth. Oral bacteria then break down these bits of food for fuel, in the process raising the levels of oral acidity in the mouth and coating the teeth in a bacterial byproduct known as plaque. The sticky buildup will harden over time in tartar. Not only does the buildup lead to bad breath and discolored teeth, but the sticky layers could also weaken and erode enamel, and inflame gum tissues, increasing the risk of tooth decay, painful infections, gingivitis, and even periodontal disease. To help lower the risk of serious buildup, you need to cut back on the items bacteria love to feed on, such as particles of sugar and starch. You also need to brush and floss!

Brushing Your Teeth

Kids and adults should brush their teeth twice daily, once when they wake up and again before going to bed. Each session should take about two minutes. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles is preferred, as brushing too rough with medium or hard bristles could inadvertently erode tooth enamel and cause the gums to recede. Be sure you use a toothpaste with fluoride too, as fluoride actually helps strengthen outer enamel. We suggest that parents assist their children, or monitor them at least, to ensure they clean their teeth properly. Kids should have their teeth cleaned daily as soon as the first baby tooth arrives!

Flossing Daily

Even more vital than brushing is flossing! You should do this every night before going to bed. Take an 18 to 20-inch length of tape and tie one end around each thumb, holding it taut with the index fingers. Then run the tape up and down each side of every tooth, dipping below the gum line in a “c” motion too. Kids should begin this process as soon as there are teeth sitting side-by-side, and may prefer the use of a floss pick initially.


We want to help you keep your teeth strong and healthy with regular and proper care at home. To learn more about our approach to keeping smiles strong and healthy, then schedule an appointment with the Potach and Mitchell Dental Clinic, contact our Austin, MN dental office today by calling 507-437-6312. Our office welcomes patients from Austin, MN and surrounding communities.