Expert Brushing Tips for Proper Technique

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your daily routine. Brush twice a day for 2 minutes.

Here are 3 steps for brushing with a manual toothbrush.

  1. Brush at a 45-dgree angle to the gums. Place your toothbrush bristles towards your gums at a 45-degree angle so that the bristles sweep along the gumline. Look in the mirror to ensure that you place the brush properly.
  1. Brush in a back-and-forth motion. Slowly move the toothbrush around your mouth in small back and forth motions. You can do a sweeping motion on the side of each tooth or small circles but remember to focus where the tooth meets the gums, because this is where harmful bacteria that causes dental disease resides.
  2. Cover all the surfaces. It is important to brush all surfaces of your teeth. Having a sequential method will help ensure nothing is missed. Start on the inside, continue with the outside and finish by brushing the chewing surfaces. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Here are some additional tips when it comes to brushing your teeth.

  • Start with the difficult areas first. Depending on your dominant hand, you are probably going to start your brushing on the opposite side of your mouth. For example, right-handed people will often start brushing on the left side of their mouth on the cheek side of the tooth. We tend to be very aware of our brushing technique in the beginning and then go on autopilot as we continue to brush. So, why not start in areas that are more difficult to brush and then leave the easier-to-reach areas for last?
  • When brushing your back teeth, slightly close your mouth. Although this may sound counterintuitive, when you open wide you will contract the muscle in your cheek that sits along your back teeth. If you close slightly and relax the muscle, you allow the toothbrush the space needed to reach those back teeth without getting stopped by your cheek muscle.
  • Slow down when brushing. We often brush way too fast. It is recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, so if you are not sure how much time you are spending on brushing—time yourself! Again, focus on a couple teeth at a time for a few seconds before moving onto the next teeth.
  • Spit don’t rinse. Rinsing your mouth with water removes the fluoride or other active ingredients you’ve just brushed onto your teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel.
  • Select a toothbrush that is right for your mouth. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Brushing your teeth is only part of your daily oral care routine. It is also important to clean between your teeth daily using interdental brushes, because a toothbrush simply cannot reach this area. Regular dental checkups in combination with your own homecare are crucial in maintaining oral health.

Read More: Brushing Your Teeth | MouthHealthy - Oral Health Information from the ADA

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