Brushing Techniques you Need to Know

Many people are surprised to discover that there is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth. This week, we look at both.

Does it really matter how I brush my teeth?

In a word, yes. Whilst any kind of brushing is better than no brushing at all, using an improper technique for cleaning your teeth can contribute to plaque build-up, damage the enamel on your teeth, and prematurely age them.

The wrong way to brush your teeth

Most people ‘scrub’ their teeth by using a vigorous back and forth motion until they achieve a ‘clean’ feeling. There are two major problems with this type of technique:

  • The backwards and forwards motion across the teeth results in the bristle bouncing from tooth to tooth misses the spaces in between where plaque tends to collect and even result in more plaque being pushed into those spaces
  • Vigorous brushing is abrasive and does remove plaque, but it removes your precious tooth enamel as well, resulting in more sensitive teeth. Plaque is soft and loose, so you only really need to gently ‘massage’ your teeth with the brush to get it off.

The correct technique

  • Put a pea sized amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush.
  • Start by holding your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your mouth. Whilst this might seem pedantic, this angle is the most effective when it comes to cleaning the area where the teeth and gums touch and where bacteria tend to collect.
  • Starting from the gum, move down the outside of tooth with gentle circular motions then move onto the next one. Repeat this technique on the inside of your teeth as well.
  • Next, use a light back and forth motion to clean along the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • Finally, lightly brush your tongue.
  • Don’t wash your mouth out after you have finished brushing. The toothpaste still coating your teeth will help protect them from bacteria.
  • It’s also better to try and start brushing from a different point every time you go to brush your teeth, as this helps to avoid chronic under brushing in any one area

How often?

We all know that brushing our teeth is the best way to stop plaque causing bacteria growing in our mouths and to do this effectively, you should brush your teeth a minimum of two times per day. However, the ideal number is three; one session after every meal for at least two minutes each time.


Eden Rise Dental is a Berwick based dental clinic offering cosmetic and general dentistry solutions for the whole family. Book your next check up with us today by calling 9702 6111.