How to Brush Your Teeth… Properly

You’d think that anyone would know how to brush their teeth properly – that it’s a basic, mindless activity. There’s not much to it: Take toothbrush; apply paste; insert toothbrush into mouth; brush; and rinse. The reality is a bit more complex. No need to worry, though – our handy guide will have you brushing your teeth properly in no time!

brushing guide feature

The Cleaning Tools You’ll Need

There’s something to be said for a well-made tool. Whatever its cost, function or size, having a quality tool at your disposal will make any job easier – and brushing your teeth is no exception.

At the foundation of a good oral hygiene routine is the toothbrush. You can choose any brush you like – even a manual toothbrush. However, increasing your budget by a small amount will allow the purchase of a basic, yet superior electric toothbrush, capable of cleaning faster and more effectively than even the best manual brush ever could. Oral-B – the number-one dentist-recommended brand – makes electric toothbrushes that start around £30.

When compared to its manual counterpart, an electric toothbrush cleans teeth more quickly and thoroughly, removing a significant amount of plaque, and allowing hard-to-reach teeth to be cleaned, even by those with limited mobility, since a motorized toothbrush does all the heavy lifting, so to speak.

In addition to a quality toothbrush, use toothpaste from a trusted brand. There are plenty of pastes from which to choose, encompassing a wide range of flavours, as well as attributes – such as whitening or desensitizing agents, and fluoride or fluoride-free formulas – letting you further tailor your brushing experience to your needs.

To make the most of each cleaning – and to maximize your chances of warding off bad breath, periodontal disease and tooth decay – follow each brushing with a thorough flossing, and rinse with a mouthwash of your choice.

The Technique

Even the best tooth brushing technique in the world doesn’t count for much if used in haste. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice daily, for two full minutes each time. Furthermore, to ensure that all your teeth receive a thorough cleaning, divide those two minutes of brushing into four, evenly-sized chunks of thirty seconds, brushing one quadrant of your mouth for half a minute, then moving onto the next.

One of the benefits of using an electric toothbrush is that most models feature an integrated 2-minute timer, which means no more watching the clock!

Brushing, step-by-step:

The following steps are applicable to both manual and electric toothbrushes. The only difference is that, with an electric toothbrush, you should forgo moving the brush in a circular, back and forth or up and down motion – simply run the moving brush head over your teeth, and leave the hard work to the motor!

  1. Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the bristles.
  2. Position the brush at a 45 degree angle on the outer surface of your front upper teeth.
  3. Brush using small motions – preferably circular, rather than side to side. Avoid applying heavy pressure; it’s unnecessary.
  4. Brush each tooth for one to two seconds, and brush the entire tooth, including the gum. Work your way toward your molars and clean them. Place the bristles parallel to the molars’ chewing surfaces, and move the brush back and forth to clean them.
  5. Clean behind your front teeth by tilting the brush vertically. Brush with an up and down motion.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5, starting on the outer surface of your front lower teeth.
  7. Then, position the brush at a 45 degree angle on the inner surfaces of your front upper teeth.
  8. Brush using small motions – preferably circular, rather than side to side. Avoid applying heavy pressure; it’s unnecessary.
  9. Brush each tooth for one to two seconds, and brush the entire tooth, including the gum. Work your way toward your molars and clean them.
  10. Repeat steps 7 through 9, starting on the inner surfaces of your front lower teeth.

Finish by brushing your tongue, sweeping the brush back-to-front. You may also brush the inside of your cheeks. Spit out excess toothpaste, and rinse your mouth with water. Follow with floss and mouthwash.

Persist, and Reap the Rewards

There are plenty of reasons to skip brushing your teeth – time constraints, forgetfulness, laziness, preoccupation – but the plain truth is that brushing your teeth properly requires no more than four, and if you floss, and rinse with mouthwash, five to six minutes per day.

It’s a tiny investment of time which yields tremendous results: clean teeth, strong gums, fresh breath, greater self-confidence, and improved overall health – so pick up that toothbrush and make your smile shine!

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