For the last 25 years, I have seen a single failure point in brushing and flossing.

The majority of failures, that is to say, recurring cavities and gum infection, are not due to a lack of brushing and flossing. It is because the method used is flawed. The single most common issue is that individuals do not realize that bacteria cannot be wiped off of teeth; bacteria need to be scrubbed off because of their oily nature.

To fully clean teeth of the bacteria requires more thorough brushing. We recommend that you brush only two or three teeth at a time and focus on one side of the teeth. You must scrub for six seconds in order to effectively remove bacteria from the surface. Keep in mind you have three sides of a tooth to brush. That means you will spend 18 seconds brushing the top, tongue side, and cheek side of those two-to-three teeth before moving to the next two-to-three teeth.

When it comes to flossing, you must also scrub each the side of each tooth. This can be done by moving the floss in an up-and-down manner a minimum of six times to remove the oily bacteria.

The average patient thinks they’re trying to remove food from their teeth and that is, sadly, untrue. Your objective is to remove bacteria from the teeth. Bacteria are oily and require more scrubbing than many people realize.

It may help to think of bacteria like any other oily substance. If you are working around the house and get dirt on your hands it is easy to scrub off. But if you get oil on your hands it can take far longer and require considerably more effort to remove.

-Dr. John Coleman