Brushing up on Proper Teeth Brushing Techniques

tooth brushes

As we age, brushing becomes just another thoughtless activity performed in the half-asleep haze of the morning routine. Unfortunately, monotony can cause poor execution. When any important habit (such as brushing) becomes monotonous, it is time to evaluate our efforts in that habit. We must identify where our labors are lacking and double our efforts to implement optimal dental care. Oral health is dependent on good brushing habits.

            The first order of business is finding the proper cleaning instrument for your teeth. Your toothbrush must fit your mouth comfortably. The head of the toothbrush must fit in between the lips and teeth without excessive stretching. Also, the American Dental Association recommends using soft bristles as opposed to the medium to hard classification of bristles. Soft bristles are less likely to cause ware and tear on the enamel and gums. As to the electric vs. manual brush, dentists agree that both work equally well. The quality of brushing relies not on the brush, but the hand holding the brush.


            The next step in the process is brushing technique. Brush the front and inner (the side your tongue rests against) surfaces of the teeth two at a time in a circular or an elliptical motion. The tops of the teeth should be brushed with a back and forth motion. Additionally, be sure to gently brush the gum line at a 45 degree angle to avoid irritation. The American Dental Association strongly suggests dividing the mouth into quadrants and brushing each quadrant for 30 seconds for a total brushing time of two minutes.

In an ideal world, one should brush his/her teeth after every meal or snack; however, life is busy, so Dr. Fowler recommends brushing should take place every morning after breakfast, every afternoon after lunch, and every evening after dinner, but if time allows, by all means brush as frequently as you eat in order to prevent tooth decay.