Expert Teeth Brushing Techniques

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
July 19, 2017

Toothbrush with toothpaste on the bristles

You might think that your oral hygiene routine is doing its job, but in reality, you might be missing the mark. Improper brushing could make you more susceptible to dental decay and gingivitis. So, to be sure that you’re getting the very best clean every time you brush your teeth, follow the expert techniques and tips below.

It’s All About the Angle

To thoroughly clean both the teeth and the gum line, experts recommend holding your toothbrush at a 45° angle. Doing so will help you get rid of the nasty bacteria and plaque that accumulates along the gums, as well as just beneath the gums.

Hit Every Part of Every Tooth

There’s a reason why dentists recommend brushing for two minutes at a time: you need to be thorough, and that means hitting every part of every tooth. Use an up-and-down and side-to-side motion that incorporates small circular movements to get the job done right.

Keeping that 45° angle, brush the outside surface of every tooth first. Then brush the biting side of the teeth, followed by the inside surfaces of your teeth. Hitting every surface will help remove debris and help prevent inflammation along the gums.

Finally, to help eradicate even more bacteria and keep your breath fresh, brushing your tongue is a must.

Don’t Be Aggressive!

Think of your brushing session as a massage for your teeth, rather than it being a harsh scrubbing session. Holding your toothbrush with the same amount of grip that you would use to hold a pencil, as opposed to making a fist, will ensure you don’t go overboard and do any damage from overzealous brushing.

In addition to using the right technique, using the right toothbrush will also help prevent irritation when you brush those pearly whites. With an innumerable selection of brushes to choose from, it can be tough to narrow them down, but experts recommend sticking with a toothbrush that features soft bristles. In this way, the bristles will bend, making it easier to access and clean the gum line. So whether you opt to get an electric toothbrush or an old-school manual brush, it is best to avoid hard, stiff bristles.

Timing Is Everything

You might think that brushing your teeth after having a meal is a good idea. But the truth is that this could actually do some damage. Because there is acid already in your mouth from the foods and drinks that you consumed, when you brush, you are only adding more abrasion to the mix. Essentially, you could be boosting the acid’s ability to erode your teeth. Scary!

What you can do instead is rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to start removing some of the damaging acids prior to brushing. It’s also a great idea to wait at least 20 minutes before brushing, as this will give your saliva a chance to work on cleaning your teeth as well.

And, as you probably already knew, dentists recommend brushing your teeth every morning and every night.

Choose the Right Arsenal of Tools

What good is a solid technique if you can’t execute it with the right tools?

  • Experts recommend using dental care products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on their packaging.
  • In addition to brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash is also recommended.  
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if you notice that the bristles are fraying.   
  • Select dental care products that will provide multiple benefits at once. For example, you can purchase a fluoride toothpaste that fights plaque, tartar, and cavities, while also protecting your gums and whitening your teeth. Or you could purchase an electric toothbrush with various heads, including those designed to scrape the tongue clean.

Brushing and Dentist Visits: A Perfect Combo

If you are experiencing pain when you brush your teeth and gums, or if your gums bleed, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. He or she will be able to give you a complete cleaning and checkup, as well as provide treatment that will bring much-needed relief.

Want to be absolutely sure that you’re hitting the mark every time you brush? Want to have all of your toothbrushing questions answered by someone who knows your unique mouth? Seeing your dentist is the best way to get personalized advice on what will work best for you.

Once you’re brushing like a pro and you start seeing your dentist on a schedule, you can keep your adorable smile clean, white, and tartar-free!


Search for Resources


Senior Dental Health
Eye Health
Children's Dental Health
Dental Health