Too many patients give the brush off to proper tooth brushing and flossing.  As dental health professionals, we know how important proper brushing is. That’s why we are pleased to offer valuable information on proper brushing and flossing techniques for you to offer to your patients.



Brushing every day is a fundamental component to effective oral hygiene helping keep teeth and gums from bacterial biofilm (plaque). Plaque (bacteria) is constantly forming on your teeth. Therefore, it is recommended that you brush 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes in the evening, no less, in order to efficiently remove this “sticky film”. While growing up, children are often told to brush after eating their favorite sugary or starchy food or beverage. The reason has to do with the interaction between these foods and the bacteria in the mouth. In the presence of sugars or starches, the bacteria produce an acid that attacks the tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps the acid in contact with your teeth. Without the removal of the plaque, dental caries (cavities) will progressively appear.

Plaque needs to be removed through a daily oral care routine which includes brushing and flossing or the plaque will harden into tartar (or calculus). When it hardens, the tartar will need to be removed by your dental professional.


The GUM® Brand motto is “Healthy Gums. Healthy Life."

Effective oral health starts with the gums. Today, gum disease is one of the most common dental problems. One of the issues with gum disease is that it often develops slowly and without pain. When plaque (tartar) is allowed to accumulate, infection will occur at the point where the gums attach to the teeth (called the “point of attachment”). 

The mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and proper oral hygiene (brushing, flossing and custom care).

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease resulting in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, “attachment loss” and a breakdown of the bone that supports your teeth. Tooth mobility and tooth loss may result from untreated periodontitis.



Like any task, selecting the right tools will positively impact the outcome. Dental Professionals recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush to safely remove dental plaque. On the other hand, a hard-bristled brush, coupled with vigorous brushing can result in recession of the gums and the abrasion of tooth enamel and exposed root surfaces. Many of the GUM® brand toothbrushes have a patented Dome Trim® design so that when the toothbrush is positioned at a 45° angle to the teeth, the raised center bristles are able to clean below the gumline, an important factor in preventing gum disease. The size of the toothbrush is also important for effective brushing. Smaller mouths may require a toothbrush with a compact (smaller) head.

The bristle firmness and head size (regular, compact, sub-compact) will be printed on the packaging of the toothbrush.



Many activities in life require proper technique to enjoy success. Anyone who has picked up a golf club, participated in gymnastics, figure skating or a host of other sports can attest to this realization. Brushing your teeth is no different. To maintain healthy teeth and gums it is important that bristles contact both the tooth surface and the gumline. Follow these steps and you’ll be better equipped to keep plaque in check.


Steps for Proper Brushing:

 1. Place bristles along the gumline at a 45° angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
 2. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back, forth & rolling motion. Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat.
 3. Maintain a 45° angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush using back, forth & rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.
 4. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.

5. Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth & use a gentle back & forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.


Change your toothbrush at least every three months.

Over time the bristles on the toothbrush exhibit signs of wear which reduces their plaque-removing abilities. The rate of wear will depend on a number of factors and will be unique to each person. However, as a guideline, replace your toothbrush every three months.  Additionally, the mouth harbors a lot of bacteria and it is possible for it to be transferred to your toothbrush during use. Therefore, not only is it recommended to replace your toothbrush every 3 months but also thoroughly rinse your brush following each use to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. When storing your toothbrush, it is recommended that it be in an upright position, off the countertop, with the ability to be air dried between uses. If more than one brush is stored in a holder, it is recommended that they be separated to avoid cross contamination. As a further point, at no time should toothbrushes be shared. This could result in the transference of bacteria from one individual to another.



Brushing alone removes about 50% of the plaque in your mouth. Studies have shown that when flossing is combined with brushing up to 70% of plaque is removed. Flossing will enable you to reach areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush, specifically between teeth and under the gumline. The selection of a dental floss will be based on individual need and preference. 

A couple of the most common challenges cited by individuals in terms of not regularly flossing include not being able to develop this activity into an everyday habit and the awkwardness of flossing. Here is a tip that may help establish a daily ritual: Make sure the floss is readily available, leave it in your car, in your briefcase, inside your daily planner, in the shower…the more accessible the floss, the more apt it is to be used. Within the G•U•M® line-up of products, there is continual innovation to assist with the maintenance of optimal oral health. In terms of flossing, G•U•M® has Eez-Thru® Flossers which are convenient, easy to use, allow for one-handed flossing and are perfect when you are on-the-go. Additionally, why not try a floss handle like the G•U•M®  Flosbrush®? Many tools are available to help you achieve the daily routine of flossing.  


Steps for Proper Flossing Technique:

 1. Wind 18" of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving 1" - 2" length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
 2. Keep a 1" - 2" length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth. 
 3. Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
 4. Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.