Cleaning your teeth is ultimately up to you, although we can help you get there. When our hygienists clean your teeth, it’s only a day before bacteria start the plaque and scale build up all over again. Most mouth bacteria are harmless, even beneficial. But if they get out of control, bacterial build up can lead to infections, and some need to be controlled with antibiotics. We can test this, if needed, and treat infections related to tooth decay or gum disease.

While a regular visit to our dentists to remove plaque and scale is very important, doing a thorough job with brushing tooth surfaces and flossing to keep the gums clean where they meet the teeth will go a long way.

Here’s a few basics to ‘brush up’ on…


Brushing alone can’t get to the tight spaces between teeth and under the gum line. So daily circumferential flossing is important.

  • Be generous with the floss – you need about 50cm. Wind most around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand. Grip tightly between thumbs and forefingers.
  • Be gentle – guide the floss between teeth with a rubbing motion, don’t snap it in. When you reach the gum line, curve the floss against the tooth.
  • Take it one tooth at a time – slide the floss in gently, then rub the side of each tooth up and down.
  • Unwind fresh floss as you move around to other teeth.
  • Be persistent – if floss is difficult to handle, use special floss sticks or even a wooden or plastic toothpick. There are even pressure cleaners, if you can’t manage any other way.
  • Circumferential flossing – this method allows you to clean all the way around each tooth. It’s absolutely the best way, but does take a little time.We’d be delighted to show you how to do it.


Twice a day, at least, is essential – take the time to do a thorough job. Also:

  • Use the right toothpaste and toothbrush – make sure the brush is comfortable in your mouth. Consider using an electric brush which can reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual brushing. If you have trouble brushing effectively, such as arthritic hands, an electric brush will help.
  • Do it right – hold the brush at a slight angle, aiming bristles to the area where the tooth and gum meet. Gently brush with a circular movement. Remember to brush the outside, inside, chewing surfaces and lastly, your tongue.
  • Keep it clean – rinse your brush with water and store upright to air-dry. Covering or storing in a closed container encourages bacteria to grow.
  • Replace it often – invest in a new brush or replacement head every month, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.