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Care of the Teeth


Use TWO toothbrushes

Choose a soft toothbrush. Use the edge of the toothbrush to wiggle and jiggle the bristles at the gum line - a massaging motion is recommended over an up-and-down scrubbing motion. Also, brush with a child's toothbrush at the gum line. Look for blood in the sputum, which is a sign of infection. If there is blood, be more conscientious about brushing at the gum line.

If you can't find a child's toothbrush at the store, you can make one by using sharp-pointed fingernail scissors to cut away half or two-thirds of the bristles.

On each tooth there are five surfaces to brush:
surfaces next to the cheek
surfaces next to the tongue
the two surfaces that face adjacent teeth
the chewing surfaces.

Fortunately, brushing once a day is enough, so thoroughness can replace frequency.

Frequently missed surfaces

upper back molars, next to the cheek
tongue-side surfaces where the teeth are bowed (feel your teeth with your tongue to detect bowed surfaces)


To avoid tooth decay, flossing is essential. To reduce floss breakage, use a sawing motion to get floss between the teeth, and use a sawing motion to get it out. When in, scrub facing tooth surfaces with an up-and-down motion or a sawing motion.

If gum is sore, it is likely that food - and bacteria - are lurking under the gum line. Use the dental floss to push the gum upwards (for upper teeth, downwards for lower teeth) and scrape the tooth there with the dental floss.


Brush your tongue to scrub off plaque.


Although tooth brushing and flossing are done once a day, toothpicks are useful several times a day. They get out food lodged in the teeth at any time. Keep some toothpicks at your desk, some in the bathroom, some in the kitchen, and some in the car. Also recommended: travel-size tiny brush (Proxybrush) for cleaning between the teeth, available in drug stores and supermarkets.


Keep a flashlight in the bathroom. Shine it inside your mouth occasionally (flashlight must have fresh batteries. Turn off room lights to see better). If any cavities are developing, you can sometimes see them. With a flashlight you can also check out the condition of your gums. (Flashlights vary in power. Husky brand from Home Depot is good.)

More toothbrushing pictures are available at

To see my video on taking care of your teeth, click here.

To see my video on dealing with a sore gum, click here.

To see Part 2 of my video on dealing with a sore gum, click here.

Home Page - You Should Have Told Me (home hygiene, home routines)

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Pestered by unwanted thoughts and feelings? Try my new Web site:

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Food for thought:

Bad Habits of Mind