What’s the Right Way to Brush Your Teeth? - Smile Dental Center

woman brushing her teethThe American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes per session. This dental hygiene practice helps control plaque and bacterial buildup on your teeth and tongue, which can contribute to gum disease, gingivitis and tooth decay.

Yet not all methods for brushing are identical. Certain approaches are more effective, while others can lead to gum tissue abrasion and other damage. Keep the following factors in mind when brushing.

Basic Toothbrushing Technique

Begin with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also consider timing yourself to make sure you spend at least two minutes brushing.

If you’re using a standard manual toothbrush:

  • Wet the bristles with water for lubrication and place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the bristles. For children under age 3, use a rice grain-sized amount.
  • Start brushing your upper molars toward the back of your mouth in a clockwise direction. Use shorter, lighter strokes toward the front of your mouth. Spend about 20 seconds in each section, finishing with the lower molars.
  • Beyond the front of your teeth, go over the chewing surfaces in a circular motion.
  • Angle the brush away from your gumline after finishing a section. This helps move away plaque and food buildup.
  • Don’t forget about the back of your teeth. Use the upper portion of the toothbrush head to target this area, angling the bristles toward the gumline.
  • Consider spending more time around crowns and fillings, where bacteria can gather.
  • Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria that may have accumulated here. Also brush the roof of your mouth and inner cheeks, as these areas can hold onto plaque, bacteria and food particles.
  • Once done, rinse your mouth with cold water, followed by mouthwash.

Even when using an electric toothbrush, you still need to put in the work to clean your teeth. Still wet the brush head and keep it at a 45-degree angle to the gumline, however:

  • Rather than brush in sections, focus on one tooth at a time to allow the brush head to rotate around the tooth. Start at the front of your mouth and migrate to the back, applying a light degree of pressure.
  • You can also use an electric toothbrush on your tongue.

General Brushing Guidelines

In addition to the techniques described above:

  • Replace your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months. When the bristles are frayed, the toothbrush is too worn to clean effectively.
  • Clean your teeth with an ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Also floss to remove bacteria in between your teeth where bristles cannot reach.
  • Support your toothbrushing routine with a low sugar diet.
  • Schedule dental visits every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

To learn more about effectively cleaning your teeth at home, contact Smile Dental Center today.