Brushing & Flossing

Your Local Durham Dentistry

At Thomas S. Clifton, DDS, we offer patients endodontic, periodontic and dental care in a friendly and welcoming environment, but healthy teeth start at home with proper oral hygiene. Dr. Thomas Clifton teaches the importance proper brushing and flossing techniques, so together we create healthy, long-lasting smiles. Conveniently located in Durham, NC, visit us today and let us help you put your best smile forward.

Proper Brushing Technique

The first step to proper brushing is the type of toothbrush. We recommend our patients use a soft bristled toothbrush as medium or hard bristles can actually lead to gum or tooth damage. You should replace your toothbrush every three months or once the bristles start to wear or fray, whichever comes first. Brush your teeth 3-4 times a day to remove food particles and plaque.

How to Brush

  • Step 1: Starting with the outside of your teeth, brush at a straight angle using circular motions.
  • Step 2: Finish the outside of the teeth by angling the toothbrush to clean under the gums: angle up for the upper row of teeth and down for the lower row of teeth.
  • Step 3: Brush the chewing surface of the upper and lower rows of teeth with a back and forth motion.
  • Step 4: Finish by angling the brush downwards and brush the inside of the lower teeth and upward to brush the inside of the upper teeth.

Proper Flossing Technique

Because your toothbrush can’t reach the areas between your teeth, it’s important to floss in order to remove food particles and plaque from these hard to reach areas. Floss at least once a day, most importantly at night, so your teeth are clean before you go to bed.

How to Floss

  • Step 1: Pull about 18 inches of floss from the dispenser.
  • Step 2: Wrap most of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a couple of inches pulled taught.
  • Step 3: Using your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss, slide the floss between teeth- reaching just beneath the gumline – removing food particles or plaque.
  • Step 4: Unwrapping clean floss as you go, repeat the steps above to clean between all teeth, including your back teeth.

Your gums may bleed a little when you first start flossing. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let one of our team members know at your next appointment.

Visit Dr. Clifton, Your Local Durham Dentist

One of the most important steps to a healthy smile is maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen at home. As your family dentist, we will be happy to show you the proper techniques during your next visit and answer and questions you may have. Please contact our Durham family dental office and one of our team members will be happy to help you schedule an appointment!

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9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm