Oral Hygiene Instructions

How to Floss

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove bacterial plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.

Start with a piece of waxed floss or woven floss about 18″ long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done flossing, rinse with water and proceed to brushing. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the bacterial plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.


While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums and teeth. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth.

Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth. To do this, use short gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. We recommend to brush your teeth for 2 minutes (ie: 30 seconds per quadrant).

Don’t forget to brush the surface of your tongue as well (ideally with a “tongue-scraper”).

Electric Toothbrush

An electric toothbrush is a very effective oral hygiene tool that has been clinically proven to be superior to manual toothbrushes. Using an electric toothbrush takes some getting used to because your hand doesn’t control all the action. Instead, the bristles move on their own to give your teeth and gums a gentle cleaning.

First apply toothpaste to the electric toothbrush. Insert the toothbrush into your mouth and then turn it on. Cover all of the surfaces of your teeth with the toothbrush and brush slowly in a circular manner, allowing 30 seconds per quadrant for a total of 2 minutes. You don’t need to use the typical scrubbing action, since the movement of the brush does that for you. Gently guide the toothbrush along your gum line in a circular manner. Apply only light pressure and let the brush do the work while you guide it. As you practice with the electric toothbrush, you learn how to control the brush more effectively. Turn the toothbrush off when you’re done brushing your teeth. Rinse it thoroughly and return it to its charger. DO NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH YET!!! If you have been instructed to use a proxibrush by our office, this is the time you should proceed to using it -while there is still toothpaste in your mouth covering your teeth. This allows the proxibrush to scrub the surfaces between your teeth to remove the “inter-dental” bacterial plaque, as well as carry and apply fluoride from your toothpaste to those spaces to better protect your teeth from root decay and help decrease root sensitivity!!!

You may now go ahead and rinse your mouth with water (5-6 times to remove all residual toothpaste form your teeth).

Now is the ideal time to rinse with Listerine “Total Care or Total Care Zero” since all of your teeth are scrubbed and polished clean and all food, bacterial plaque and debris has been removed. Rinse vigorously with Listerine for 1 minute ensuring all of your teeth are well rinsed to allow the mouth rinse to enter all spaces between your teeth. You should refrain from drinking or eating (do not rinse with water neither) for 30 minutes following your Listerine rinse to allow adequate time for the rinse to perform its function.

We are here to help you; we encourage all our patients to bring their electric toothbrush to their hygiene appointments to assure its proper use.

Caring For Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with Dr. Behmanesh or Dr. Kiarash. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients. Please ask Dr. Behmanesh or Dr. Kiarash and our hygienist to help you select products that are best for you.

Electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective and a great way to efficiently brush your teeth. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove bacterial plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with the Oral-B Triumph® electric toothbrush, we encourage you to bring your toothbrush to your first cleaning appointment so that we can review the proper and most effective way of utilizing it.

There are also tiny brushes (proxybrushes) that clean between your teeth.

Prescription fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. These rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Listerine is the only clinically proven and ADA approved mouth rinse shown to help decrease gingivitis and plaque. All flavors are equally effective.

We are here to help you; we will recommend and go over the use of the most effective oral hygiene tools available.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum above the gum line; however, your periodontal maintenance performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist, will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Dr. Kiarash and Dr. Behmanesh, along with your family dentist, are an important part of your long-term program to prevent and/or treat gum disease to help you keep your teeth for your lifetime.