A Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Teeth Brushing

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
July 18, 2019

A parent watches over as their child brushes their teeth

Are you brushing your teeth the right way? You might think so, but you might actually be missing a few key pointers to ensure you thoroughly clean every surface of every tooth as best as possible.

Brushing the correct way is important, so it’s always wise to refine your technique. After all, the better you can brush your teeth at home, the more impressed your dental hygienist will be—and the less work she’ll have to do when you go for a cleaning!

Ready to start brushing your teeth like a pro? Follow our easy step-by-step guide below to take your oral hygiene routine to the next level.

Just Remember: It’s All About the Angle

Positioning your toothbrush just right can make a world of difference. Experts recommend getting your toothbrush to be at a 45° angle to your gums. Then, once it’s at the correct angle, you can gently move the brush in short, circular strokes that are about the width of each tooth.

When it’s time to brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth, you can change things up a bit by moving the brush so that it is in a vertical position. Then, you can brush up and down those surfaces to clean them.

Note: There’s no need to brush aggressively. Using too much pressure can do more harm than good, as it can lead to enamel erosion and gum damage. Instead, focus on using the right angle and strokes to get the job done.

Step 1: Brush the Outer Surfaces of the Teeth

Start by brushing the outer surfaces of all of your teeth.

You might decide to start in the front of your mouth, or you could start in the back of your mouth and then make your way around to the other side.

You can either start with your top teeth or your bottom teeth first. Just make sure that you go all the way around so you don’t miss any spots.

Note: After using the brush at the 45° angle mentioned above, you can gently roll the bristles away from the gums to ensure you remove debris from the entire tooth surface.

Step 2: Brush the Inner Surfaces of the Teeth

Once you’ve brushed the outer surface of your upper and lower tooth, from the back to the front, it’s time to repeat the process with the inner surfaces of all of those teeth.

Yet again, you can start in the back on one side of your mouth, either the upper or lower teeth, and work your way around, following the directions regarding the correct angle to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Don’t forget to change the angle when you get to the inside of the front teeth.

Step 3: Brush the Chewing Surfaces of the Teeth

Next, it’s time to get the chewing surface of every tooth clean.

As you did for the other surfaces of your teeth, you can begin with the back molars on one side of the mouth and make your way around. If you start with your upper teeth, get them completely clean before moving on to the lower teeth, or vice versa.

For the chewing surface, which is uneven rather than smooth, you can use a back and forth motion to clean it out.

Step 4: Brush Your Tongue

You can use a special tongue cleaner or your toothbrush to clean your tongue. This can help combat bacteria and bad breath.

When brushing your tongue, don’t press too hard. Be gentle, and use circular motions to clean the surface and freshen up your mouth.

Step 5: Rinse

Finally, you can rinse off your toothbrush, and rinse out your mouth with some water.

For extra refreshment, you can even finish up by rinsing with some mouthwash.

That’s it! You’re all done until your next brushing session.

It Only Takes Two Minutes, Twice a Day

Brush your teeth using the technique discussed above for about two minutes per brushing session. And brush once in the morning and once before bed, at a minimum. Follow your dentist’s instructions if you need to brush your teeth more often than that.

Tip - Some electric toothbrushes come with convenient features, like timers and apps, that can help guide you through the brushing process.

You’ve Heard This Before: Don’t Forget to Floss!

Although we’ve covered the proper teeth brushing technique, it’s important to mention that flossing at least once a day is a vital component to a smart at-home oral hygiene routine.

Your toothbrush can’t get all the way in between your teeth, but your floss can, so you don’t want to miss out on using this tool to really freshen up and clean your mouth.

Do You Need to Upgrade Your Toothbrush?

As with anything else, when you have the right tools, the job of cleaning your teeth can become a lot easier. These days, you have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a toothbrush, as there are loads of manual and electric brushes that can help you thoroughly and efficiently clean your chompers.

  • Stick with a toothbrush that’s comfortable to use and has soft bristles (toothbrushes with flexible heads might be more comfortable for some people)
  • The toothbrush should be able to get into hard-to-reach places, including all the way to the back of the mouth and your wisdom teeth
  • When is it time to replace a toothbrush? Well, if the bristles start to look frayed or damaged in any way, that’s a surefire sign it’s time for a replacement. Otherwise, you can stick with the basic rule of replacing the brush every three to four months.

Are You Doing a Good Job? Your Dentist Can Tell!

The best way to be certain that you’re doing a superb job of brushing your teeth at home is by seeing your dentist for regular checkups. He or she can take a look at your teeth and let you know whether or not you need to make some changes to your technique. And with great dental insurance, you can rest assured that a professional cleaning will take care of anything that you missed.

Now that you know all about the proper teeth brushing technique, you can take yet another smart step towards maintaining your oral health, avoiding problems like gum disease and cavities, and keeping your smile bright and beautiful!



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