How to brush your teeth

Were you aware that it is recommended you brush your teeth morning and night each day? Probably. 

What about making sure you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each morning and night? Again, we assume you’ve heard this before.

But have you ever actually timed yourself for two minutes whilst you brushed? Not many of our patients have. So, if not, we dare you. It feels longer than you might think.

On average, most people will find they brush their teeth for only 45 seconds before they finish. You would be surprised how much plaque and bacteria you miss in your mouth when you are not actually thinking about where you are brushing. 

Below are some photos taken after the use of disclosing tablets. These tablets are designed to highlight the plaque and bacteria on your teeth by making the colour purple/pink and sometimes blue! 

As you can see generally speaking the plaque/bacteria build up is stronger along the gumline. This is for a number of reasons.

Firstly – rushed brushing only gets to the flat most accessible easily cleaned surfaces, as evident by the picture to the right.

Secondly – your lips cover the gumline and therefore one would intentionally have to place the toothbrush underneath the lips instead of just pushed up against them in order to adequately get to the plaque.

Thirdly – People also sometimes brush using a horizontal back and forth motion, which is not as effective as small circles at getting in crevices of the teeth.

It is for this reason that we not only recommend you brush for 2 minutes. But that you also angle your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle along the gumline to make sure you get to those sneaky areas that the bacteria clings to. As demonstrated in the photos below, follow the gumline at this angle along the whole arch and then move onto the next arch, making sure you get all the way to the back.

Brushing and Flossing - GUM® Dental Hygiene Health Products Official Site
Tooth'brushing — Homegirl Hygienist

Other toothbrushing tips:

  • Don’t press on your toothbrush, or brush too vigorously, make sure you are gentle and just paying attention to where you put the brush. If you brush too hard you risk stripping the enamel and gums back
  • Where you can, use a soft or medium toothbrush – never a hard brush
  • If you’re brushing gently and your gums bleed, this is a good sign that they are not being cleaned adequately. Don’t let it put you off and continue to brush in that area. After a week or so they should stop bleeding
  • Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing
  • Don’t forget the insides of your teeth, along the gumline down next to your tongue.
  • Toothbrushes should be changed every 3 months.

At AL dental we would be happy to provide a toothbrushing technique appt complete with use of disclosing tablets to see where you might be able to improve. If you are struggling at all with your brushing or have any inquires, it is important you speak with a dentist or dental professional! Happy brushing!