TODAY

TODAY   |  March 18, 2014

Are you brushing your teeth the right way?

As part of TODAY’s new series “Do It Right,” Dr. Jonathan Levine and Dr. Roshini Raj share some hygiene tips, including the proper way to brush your teeth.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> what if you suddenly learned you've been doing things wrong your entire life. everything from brushing your teeth to eating a chicken wing . that's why we're kicking off a special series "do it right today" and starting with everyday hygiene habits. here to clean up your act. good morning to both of you.

>> good to see you, matt.

>> you can teach an old dog new tricks.

>> you can. everyone rushes through brushing, don't spend the time. and a majority of people aren't flossing regularly.

>> when you wash your hands, you're supposed to sing happy birthday twice. how long are you supposed to be brushing your teeth ?

>> two minutes, morning and night, 30 seconds each quarter of the mouth. that's the two minutes. and if you do it hopping on one leg or multitasking, you're going to do it.

>> twice a day. but if you have the opportunity after every meal's not a bad thing.

>> that's exactly right. this is important to get to the areas that are hard to access. brushing and flossing is critical. inflammation can set up in the mouth.

>> what do most people do wrong?

>> number one, the statistics are showing, cdc proved that 1 out of 2 americans have gum disease . the bristles have to get underneath the gum. you want to do a little bit of a circular motion in each area outside and inside. you don't want to miss the areas. the areas -- the areas that people always miss are ones that are hard to access, and that's where the inflammation, the back bacteria causes the tissue to be inflamed.

>> you like electric toothbrushes?

>> love electric toothbrushes. i like the rotating. it does a great job of removing the plaque.

>> flossing, very important. most people don't do it.

>> flossing, even more important than brushing. gets to the area between the teeth where the inflammation sets up. and we have to make sure we're cleaning well. what you want to do, you want to work. and let me go right here. and between the teeth, around the contact, c-shaped around the teeth. slides under the gum not into the gum. if you do it effectively, it's going to keep your mouth healthy.

>> good to see you. this is brianna, an intern from ohio university . i can't believe you're letting us do this to you. we're talking about the ears and cleaning your ears, getting earwax out. a lot of people say go to the cotton swab , you say --

>> no, stay away. first of all, you could end up pushing more wax deeper into the ear canal , more importantly, you could injure yourself.

>> how do you clean your ears?

>> earwax is a good thing. it protects your eardrum, it can trap dirt and have antibacterial properties. but if you want to get some excessive wax out, never put anything smaller than the size of your finger in your ear canal . dampen a towel, she's very sweet to let me do this and i'm going to very gently with my finger, not too deep.

>> say hi to the kids back at o.u.

>> so proud of you, brianna.

>> but you can't get very far in.

>> you're right. you can't. if you want something a little bit more aggressive. use an eye dropper. this is not to go in the ear, but on the outside, drop it in, rubbing alcohol , baby oil , mineral oil , that will soften up the wax. and a couple of days later, warm water with a syringe and it'll come right out.

>> no cotton swabs . there's the shocker of the morning right there. go bobcats. tomorrow on "do it right today," health in the kitchen, including a