Proper Brushing Technique: How to Brush Your Teeth the Right Way
Fresh breath, a white smile, and dental hygiene – all important (and obvious) reasons for brushing your teeth regularly.
While it’s ideal to brush after every meal and snack, this isn’t practical for most people. But don’t worry, brushing your teeth once in the morning and once at night is sufficient. As long as you’re doing it right.
Did you know there’s a right and wrong way to brush your teeth? Slapping toothpaste on the bristles, giving your teeth a few aggressive strokes, and rinsing with water won’t cut it.
If you want to maintain a clean, healthy mouth, you need to perfect your brushing technique.
Ready to learn more? Let’s sink our teeth into it!
Get Your Supplies Ready
First things first. You need a quality toothbrush and toothpaste for perfecting your brushing technique. Approximately 55 million Americans use electric toothbrushes. For others, a traditional brush with soft or medium bristles is just right!
So, what’s the major difference?
Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes
Both types of toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque from your teeth. And both have their own unique benefits.
Manual toothbrushes are inexpensive. They’re also readily available at every convenience store, pharmacy, and gas station across the country. If you’re in a pinch, you can easily grab a manual brush on the go.
The biggest caveat about manual toothbrushes isn’t really the brush itself, but instead, the user. (Yes, we’re looking at you).
People are more likely to brush too hard and for too long when using a manual brush. The proof is in those frayed bristles and receding gums.
But electric toothbrushes aren’t without their cons. Like the price!
Not only do you have to purchase the toothbrush initially (which can run between $15 and $250), but you’ll be buying replacement brush heads for years to come.
Some people view this is an investment in your oral health. However electric toothbrushes can provide a false sense of security and are notorious for being too powerful.
They’re also said to remove more plaque and gingivitis than manual brushes. Electric toothbrushes are fun for kids and perfect for individuals with mobility issues like arthritis.
But keep in mind, finding a toothbrush that reaches all areas of your mouth, removing harmful plaque, should be concern number one.
Choosing a toothpaste is much less complex than your toothbrush selection. One of the biggest factors to consider is taste.
Is there no better feeling than a minty fresh mouth? Or are you more of a tutti-frutti person? Give your taste buds what they want!
But taste isn’t the only deciding factor when selecting toothpaste. Some varieties address specific concerns like:
- Excess plaque
Ask your dentist for suggestions on the best toothpaste for your teeth.
Let’s Get Brushing!
Now that you know what supplies you need, it’s time to brush those pearly whites (the right way).
Start by wetting the bristles of our brush. Next, place a pea size amount of toothpaste in the center of the bristles.
Now, you’re ready to start brushing. It’s important to brush for at least two minutes.
The biggest mistake people make when perfecting their brushing technique is brushing the same way they were taught back in the third grade, up and down or circular motions. These techniques clean the surface of the teeth but neglect the areas below the gum line where gum ( Gingivitis ) disease starts.
To achieve the “fresh from the dentist” clean, proper angulation is critical.
Timing Is Everything
Your favorite song. Washing your hands. A high-speed roller coaster.
Lots of things in life last two minutes. But do you really know how long that is? Probably not. Which is why setting a timer when brushing your teeth is so important.
The perfect brushing technique includes spending about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your teeth. Set a timer on your phone or use a small kitchen timer to guarantee you’re giving your dental hygiene the time it deserves.
45 degree angle with short back and forth strokes ( Bass Method)
We already mentioned brushing at a the correct angle, but why? Well, for starters, brushing up and down or in circles and misses the pocket below the gum line, commonly called the sulcus. This can lead to plaque build up, which may then lead to inflammation, which may then lead to sore and bleeding gums
Not only is this unsightly, but it opens up the perfect breeding ground for food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
The perfect brushing technique looks something like this:
- Aim the head of the brush 45 degrees into the gum line
- 45-degree’s up for the upper arch, and 45- degrees down for the lower arch
- With light pressure, and short back and forth strokes gently brush the surface of your teeth, while paying special attention to contact the gum line
Don’t concern yourself with brushing every tooth individually. Brushing each quadrant purposely will effectively break-up plaque and any food particles hiding near the gum line.
Don’t Rush the Process
Life is busy. Our minds are constantly racing toward our next task.
But when it comes to using the right brushing technique, it’s important not to rush. Not only will a shim-sham job leave your teeth dirty and your breath questionable, but it could be doing harmful damage.
Use a gentle touch while brushing. Brushing too hard can damage both your enamel and gums.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the harder you brush, the more plaque you’re removing. This isn’t the case.
By rushing through the process, all you’re doing is aggravating your mouth. Slow down and brush with purpose.
That two-minute timer will ding before you know it!
Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad
You’ve finally figured it out. If you brush your teeth 10 times a day, they’ll be 10 times healthier, right? Wrong!
Just like brushing your teeth too hard, brushing too often can have reversed effects. While brushing your teeth after every meal is encouraged, if you’re not using the right brushing technique, it’s all for naught.
When it comes to brushing, it’s quality over quantity. Focus less on how often you’re brushing and more on how you’re doing it.
The Right Brushing Technique Is Step Number One
When it comes to dental hygiene, brushing your teeth is the most basic first step. Followed by flossing and seeing a dentist for regular check-ups.
Are you still working toward mastering the perfect brushing technique? It’s all about having the right tools.