Proper Brushing Techniques

on November 20, 2013

How you brush your teeth is almost more important than what you use to brush your teeth. Even the most up to date, technologically advanced electric toothbrush won’t clean your teeth properly, if you don’t use proper brushing technique. In fact, your toothbrush may do more harm than good if you aren’t brushing properly.

There are different techniques necessary for different toothbrushes, but there are some commonalities between manual and electric toothbrushes. For example, no matter which toothbrush you use; you should make sure that the bristles are placed at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. No matter which toothbrush you are using, you do not need to apply much pressure – let the bristles do the work of sweeping the plaque and debris away.

Using repetitive motions for a full two minutes will clean your teeth efficiently without causing any damage to your tooth enamel or gum tissue. A great way to ensure that you are brushing for two minutes is to divide your mouth into quadrants and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds. This also ensures that you are not brushing one side of your mouth more than another.

Manual Toothbrush Technique

With a manual toothbrush you will need to create the repetitive motions that clean your teeth. On your posterior (back) teeth, use a circular motion to brush the facial (outside) and lingual (inside) surfaces of your teeth. Use a back and forth motion to brush the chewing surfaces. Use the circular motion to brush the facial (outside) surface of your anterior (front) teeth, and use a back and forth motion to brush the lingual (inside) of these teeth.

Do not chew on your toothbrush or apply extra pressure. This will cause your bristles to fray and will result in your toothbrush cleaning your teeth less effectively.

Electric Toothbrush Technique

An electric toothbrush head provides the repetitive motions for you. The technique used with electric toothbrushes is specific to the type of brush head that you use. There are usually two different shapes of brush heads – small and round or longer oval that is similar to the traditional toothbrush shape. With the small round brush head, you should place the bristles on a specific tooth and move the toothbrush head from one tooth to the next. If your electric toothbrush has a longer brush head, you do not have to be as tooth specific. There is no need for you to use a brushing motion with an electric toothbrush, instead using a rocking motion (side to side with smaller heads, up and down with longer heads) to ensure that you reach all parts of your tooth structure.

Again, refrain from using excess pressure whenever you brush your teeth. If you believe that you are brushing too hard, our Evanston dentists suggest choosing an electric toothbrush with a sensor to make you more aware of your habits.

No matter what toothbrush you have, make sure that you are brushing your teeth properly. If you have questions about your brushing technique, feel free to ask your dental care provider, or call our Evanston dental office and set up an appointment. We would be happy to help you make the most out of your oral hygiene routine.

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