The Proper Way to Brush Your Teeth

by | Sep 12, 2016 | Blog

Nothing could be simpler than brushing your teeth, right? After all, it’s not rocket science. Turns out, eight out of 10 of us are doing it wrong. Getting it right, and then teaching your kids so they have a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits, is crucial. If you don’t brush your teeth correctly, this could just be an act in futility. Let’s go over some steps to take to ensure you’re getting the job done right.

Find the Right Brush

It all starts with the right brush for you. Your dentist can recommend the best one for you, but generally, most people should stick with a soft brush. A hard brush can damage your gums and make them bleed, leading to recession that can allow harmful bacteria in. It’s best to get a soft nylon brush with round-ended bristles that can prevent scratching and irritation of the teeth and gums, says the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Make sure the brush you choose is the right size overall for your mouth. If you find yourself straining to open your mouth wide enough for the brush, it’s too big for you. So, what about electric toothbrushes? This is really up to the individual user. Electric toothbrushes can make it easier on those who suffer from arthritis, for example. The tool you use doesn’t matter as much as how you use it.

Get the Bristle Placement Right

After adding a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the brush, hold the bristles at the gum line at a 45-degree angle to gain the best access. This is so that the bristles can reach both the tooth surface and the gums. Start brushing your teeth gently in a back-and-forth rolling motion, beginning with the gums and then moving slowly down towards the tooth surface. Don’t neglect those hard to reach areas. Be careful to get the outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and tongue.


It’s best to brush three times a day, or after every meal. However, you should make it a point to brush at least twice a day, in the morning and before bed. Most people simply don’t brush the teeth for long enough, though. Make sure you’re taking at least two minutes to do the job. If it helps, divide your mouth into four sections and break up the time in 30-second increments. Watch TV, listen to music, or sync to your smart phone while you do it to help the time pass quickly. If you have an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, even better!

Know When to Let Go

Never keep your brush beyond the three-month mark. Not only can it get overrun with bacteria, the bristles tend to break down over time, losing their flexibility.

Get the Right Toothpaste

With so many products on the market, it can be tempting to go with the fancy ones, such as tartar control, whitening or similar ones that can really be harsh on the tooth enamel. It’s best to stick with a simple plain fluoride toothpaste. If your teeth need a whitening boost, alternate the two.

Need more tooth brushing tips? Schedule your appointment with Dr. Demetriou today at 978-794-0010.