Tips for brushing

Proper brushing takes at least two minutes – thats right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. This page contains a few tips to help while brushing your teeth.

Proper brushing takes at least two minutes – that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:

  • Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on the head of the toothbrush
  • Place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gum line
  • Move the brush across the teeth using a small circular motion. Continue with this motion cleaning one tooth at a time. Keep the tips of the bristles against the gum line. Avoid pressing so hard that the bristles lie flat against the teeth. (Only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.) Let the bristles reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the chewing surfaces
  • For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too. Special tongue brushes or scrapers can be purchased which are ideally adapted for this.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?

Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.

How Important Is the Toothpaste I Use?

It is important that you use a toothpaste that’s right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or hygienist which toothpaste is right for you.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first.