How to brush your teeth correctly: tips and techniques from a doctor

Posted on Sep 20, 2022      72

In this article, we will detail how to properly brush your teeth, as well as other important factors to consider for oral health.

Why you Brush Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth regularly is necessary to prevent several serious diseases affecting your mouth and the gastrointestinal tract. Any problems in the mouth, progressing, inevitably lead to poor chewing, which is fraught with the development of serious gastrointestinal malfunction because of entering it badly processed food. And this is just a small part of the potential health problems that arise from poor care of the teeth and underlying areas.If long do not brush your teeth, they form soft plaque, which causes the development of tooth decay, bad breath, gum problems and many other unpleasant aspects.Regular proper brushing will help maintain the health of the entire mouth and destroy many bacteria that form on the teeth, gums, the inside of the cheeks and tongue, thus protecting the person from many diseases that occur in the mouth.

Choosing a Classic Toothbrush

This is definitely one of the most important points. What you need to pay attention to:

The stiffness of the bristles.

Toothbrushes are divided into three hardness levels:

Soft. Suitable for children and people who are prone to gum bleeding;

Medium hardness. Features the best combination of delicacy to tooth enamel and mucous membranes with a high quality of cleaning. Medium stiff bristles are universal and therefore suitable not only for people with natural teeth but also for patients who have undergone prosthetics;

Stiff. The sign for the use of this type of brushes can be an increased formation of plaque and hard dental deposits. Use of brushes with hard bristles is possible only on the doctor’s recommendation.

Bristle Configuration

  • Beveled and angled bristles. They remove plaque more effectively and allow you to properly clean your molars;
  • Multi-level bristle dispersion allows penetration even in narrow gaps;
  • Bundled bristles. Increases coverage, including coverage of the cervical area.

Material for bristles

The most popular bristles are made of synthetic materials. Such bristles are more resistant to wear, have good elasticity and are gentle on the surfaces to be treated. In addition, synthetic bristles are easier to handle, avoiding the buildup of harmful bacteria on the surface.

Choosing an Electric Toothbrush

When choosing an electric toothbrush, look at:

  • The quality of the bristles and the material from which it is made;
  • The ability to change speed modes;
  • The ability to choose the direction of rotation;
  • Ability to work in sound and ultrasonic modes.

The major difference between an electric toothbrush and a conventional one is the above improving functions and ease of use, which implies minimizing the effort spent by a person in brushing.

How to Choose a Toothpaste

There are two types of toothpaste used at home:

  • Hygienic. The main purpose of this type of toothpaste is to freshen breath and remove minute food debris.
  • Therapeutic and prophylactic. Contains components that have a preventive effect.

Classification of toothpastes by action

Pastes with an anti-caries effect. They are not therapeutic, but thanks to the included fluoride and calcium, provides prevention of cavities in enamel by strengthening it. Pastes with antiparodontit effect. They contain herbal remedies that help reduce bleeding gums and stave off inflammation. Toothpastes of this type contain abrasive particles (often their role is performed by baking soda) and hydrogen peroxide to brighten tooth enamel on a couple of tones. Total whitening effect such pastes cannot give, but can brighten and cleanse the tooth enamel on 1-1.5 tones.

How much toothpaste is needed

Most people squeeze too much toothpaste out of a tube because it is shown in commercials. However, this only results in consumers simply spending more on further toothpaste purchases, but has no effect on the quality of brushing. Toothpaste is primarily needed to clean tooth enamel and the entire mouth from food debris and bacteria. It also helps to make the brush softer and soften accumulated plaque. Too much toothpaste degrades the quality of your brush and cleaning. How much toothpaste do I need to use to properly brush my teeth? A common response from dentists is “the size of a pea”. This amount of toothpaste is just enough to clean your teeth. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth (with dental floss), tongue and gums with toothpaste and brushes twice a day - in the morning after meals and in the evening before bedtime. The optimal time during which you can qualitatively clean your teeth is considered an interval of 2 to 3 minutes. In addition, it is not superfluous will be at least minimal treatment of the mouth after each meal. For such occasional cleaning, it is advisable to use dental floss, specialized chewing gum (if there are no contraindications) and rinses with both normal water and special solutions, which can be purchased at the drugstore. Doctors recommend rinsing your mouth for at least 30 seconds.

How to brush your teeth correctly: step-by-step instructions

Answering the question “how to brush teeth correctly”, the right brushing means not only the removal of dental plaque and food debris not only from the teeth but also from the cheeks and tongue. However, the most important, of course, is brushing the teeth themselves. Everything is important: what brush and toothpaste we choose, and how we perform the cleaning movements, what cleaning technique we choose. Only when these factors are combined is it possible to achieve a clean and healthy mouth. When brushing the teeth the movements performed by the brush should be vertical - as if bacteria is being flushed out - from the beginning of the gum to the top of the tooth. This guide will help you learn how to brush your teeth and tongue with a toothbrush step by step:

1. Preparing Your Toothbrush

Before each use, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly under running water. Antiseptic solutions may also be used.

2. Application of toothpaste

The amount of toothpaste should be a pea-sized amount. Too much paste creates a lot of foam, which can interfere with cleaning. 3.

3. Brushing each quarter

To properly and efficiently clean one half of each jaw, take at least 30 seconds (at least 2 minutes per oral cavity).

4. Toothbrush angle

The angle of the toothbrush to the teeth during brushing should be 45 degrees for optimal effect.

5. Where to brush from

It is customary to brush from the upper jaw row from the back teeth to the front teeth.

6. Movement of the brush during brushing

Smoothly perform sweeping movements in a vertical plane. There are three to four brush strokes per tooth.

7. Brushing the chewing surfaces of the teeth

Brushing is done on the horizontal plane. The brushing surface of the brush completely covers the area of the tooth. The brush may move back and forth in a circular or reciprocating motion.

8. Brushing the tongue with the outside of the brush

The tongue cleaner uses the outside of the toothbrush with indented curves or a tongue scraper. The cleaning is done with a smooth sweeping motion in the direction from the root of the tongue to the tip.

9. Proper brushing of the gums and tooth surfaces

Gums are cleaned in a circular motion, covering the surface of the teeth and gums with the jaws closed. The movements should be smooth so as not to harm or injure the gums.

10. Cleaning the interdental spaces

Floss is used for this purpose. About 30 cm. of floss is taken from a common skein, which is led into the space between the teeth. The cleaning is done with a smooth back-and-forth motion. Excessive pressure and sudden jerks are not allowed because of the risk of breaking the floss and injuring the gums.

11. Rinsing the mouth after brushing

The last step in brushing properly is rinsing for about 30 seconds. For this purpose, it is possible to use both normal water and specialized solutions (as prescribed by the doctor) with antiseptic (antibacterial) and refreshing effect.

How to brush with an electric toothbrush

  • Preparing the brush head. Just as with a conventional brush, the bristles are thoroughly rinsed with running water, or a special solution.
  • A small amount of toothpaste applies to the cleaning surface.
  • At an angle of 45 degrees, the head of the brush contacts the teeth. For brushes with a round brush head, the bristles cover one tooth proportionally. For brushes with an extended brush head, the bristle coverage extends to two teeth.
  • The brush is brought into working condition.
  • The oral cavity is rinsed with water, or a special solution for 30 seconds.

Additional methods of brushing the mouth can include the use of irrigators. These devices can not act as an independent device for brushing teeth, but only as an auxiliary device besides flossing.

Brushing teeth with braces

Brushing teeth while wearing braces differs in the number of products and in the procedure's complexity. You will need to use the following aids:

  • A toothbrush with soft bristles (Soft).
  • A mono-bristle brush.
  • Toothpaste containing calcium and fluoride. These ingredients help to strengthen teeth enamel.
  • Mouth irrigator, with the help of which you can qualitatively clean the joints in the braces structure.
  • A special floss (dental floss) with a soft fiber that cleans the bracket system well.
  • A toothbrush that allows you to clean the areas under the arch.
  • An antibacterial mouthwash that cleans the entire mouth of bacteria and soothes the gums.

How to properly brush teeth with braces: instructions

  • On a brush with soft bristles, apply a paste in the amount of peas;
  • Vertical movements as a broom from the root of the teeth to the chewing surface should be cleaned the inside of the teeth;
  • The outer side of the teeth should also be cleaned with vertical motions;
  • The back surface of the toothbrush should clean plaque from the tongue;
  • Using a toothbrush in the horizontal direction, clean the space under the arch, as well as the area where the teeth and braces are connected;
  • Special dental floss should clean the tooth joints and areas around the braces;
  • Remove plaque around the braces and at the joints of the teeth and gums with a monobrush;
  • Rinse your mouth with a special mouthwash for 20-30 seconds;

In one session, a person with braces will take about 8-9 minutes to properly and properly brush their teeth.

Why it is important to properly brush teeth with braces

While wearing braces, food debris, germs and bacteria accumulate in many hard-to-reach areas: under the arch, around the braces, at the junction, etc. If these areas are not properly cleaned, plaque will accumulate and eventually tartar will appear, resulting in cavities and gum disease. Therefore, the brushing procedure with braces requires more attention, time, and tools.

How often should you brush your teeth?

Teeth should be brushed twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. According to the accepted standards, the procedure should take about 2 minutes, but dentists recommend brushing your teeth for about 3 minutes (considering additional brushing with dental floss, irrigators and rinses). Rising takes 20-25 seconds. It is also ideal to chew gum for about 4-5 minutes after each meal to clean the mouth. At least once a year, undergo a comprehensive oral hygiene procedure, which includes professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.

How long should you brush your teeth?

According to dentists, proper brushing should last at least two (2) minutes, with approximately equal time (30-35 seconds) given to each quarter of the mouth. If you brush your teeth with a regular toothbrush, you can simply record the time on your phone. Brushing with an electric toothbrush is much easier: Almost all brushes have a built-in mechanism that vibrates every 30 seconds, so it’s very convenient to spend an equal amount of time brushing every fourth of your mouth. After brushing your teeth once a day, you can also use a soothing mouthwash. Brushing properly twice a day for 2 minutes removes up to 99% of bacteria, food particles, plaque and other oral and dental impurities. However, most people do not brush their teeth at all and sometimes they brush only once a day, which can lead to various diseases of the teeth, gums and mouth. Do not neglect the morning or evening session, as or overnight accumulated bacteria and other harmful substances will rapidly develop, and a single dental cleaning for the day cannot remove enough of them. Answering the question: how long should you brush your teeth, follow some simple rules: cleaning should be done twice a day for about 2 minutes, with a single session time should be distributed between all the quarters of the mouth, on average, 30 seconds.

How to brush your tongue

There are no strict recommendations and rules on tongue cleaning, but cleansing the tongue is quite an important aspect, because it contains a huge number of bacteria, and they can cause bad breath, as well as several diseases of the oral cavity. Regular tongue brushing allows you to increase the sensitivity of your taste buds. Tongue brushing is done with the back of a toothbrush, special scrapers or an irrigator. It is important to choose the right head for the irrigator to make brushing productive and pleasurable.

Additional flossing

Even with regular brushing, it’s not always possible to get a really excellent result. That’s why there is such a device as dental floss for a full-fledged cleaning of the mouth. With its help, it is possible to clean every tooth from all sides, and clean the interdental spaces from food deposits. Flossing is handy enough to take on the road when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Brushing in the Morning: Before or After Breakfast

Brushing your teeth in the morning is a very important procedure. However, it’s worth figuring out when it’s really worth it: before or after breakfast. Each option has its own advantages:

Benefits of brushing teeth before breakfast

  • A lot of harmful bacteria that negatively affect acidity levels accumulate while you sleep. If you don’t clean your mouth of them before breakfast, they will enter your stomach with your food.
  • Aesthetically, most people have an unpleasant taste and stale breath in their mouths in the morning. To fully enjoy your meal, it’s worth brushing your teeth before you eat.
  • If you consume foods with high acidity (white bread, coffee, sugar, etc.), the sensitivity of your tooth enamel will increase after a meal. Brushing your teeth immediately afterwards can cause considerable damage to your enamel.
  • Brushing before breakfast can protect your tooth enamel from the acids found in many foods in the morning.

Benefits of brushing after breakfast

  • After breakfast, many food particles accumulate in the interdental spaces, so brushing after your morning meal will minimize the spread of bacteria in your mouth.
  • If you consume hard or hard foods that contribute to microtrauma to enamel and soft tissues, brushing your teeth after breakfast will prevent further inflammation.
  • Drinks such as coffee or tea can stain tooth enamel, but if you brush your teeth after breakfast, this can be avoided.
  • Sometimes, when you brush your teeth after breakfast, small pieces of toothpaste get into your stomach along with the food (if you have not rinsed your mouth properly), which causes stomach pain afterwards.

It is better to consult and get a recommendation from a dentist on this issue.

Common brushing methods

Fones Method

The bristles of the toothbrush are placed at a 90-degree angle to the vestibular surface of the teeth. The teeth are clamped together in a circular motion, brushing the surfaces of the teeth in a spiral, circular motion of the brush. The advantage of this method is that the gums are massaged while brushing.

Leonard’s method

In this method, the brush is placed perpendicular to the tooth surface. The movements are made vertically from the gum to the dental crown. The brush is perpendicular to the tooth surface. The chewing surfaces are cleaned in a back-and-forth motion. The technique helps prevent injury to the gums.

Bass method

The brush is placed at a 45-degree angle to the dental axis. The surface of the tooth is cleaned on all sides by vibrating back-and-forth movements. This method is excellent for cleaning the cervical area of molars.

Can I Brush My Teeth with Baking Soda?

Using baking soda has long been a popular means of whitening teeth at home because of its properties. Undoubtedly, the whitening effect when brushing teeth with baking soda is observed, but this is because the baking soda destroys the top layer of enamel.Many people believe that brushing teeth with baking soda can clean the enamel well from plaque and even destroy tartar, but here there are a couple of nuances:

  • The baking soda should be finely ground;
  • Brushing with baking soda should be done rarely because, as mentioned above, baking soda seriously destroys enamel;

Almost all dentists are against the use of baking soda because of its enamel destructive properties.

The major mistakes made when brushing teeth

  • Brushing your teeth only in the morning. Lack of evening cleaning can lead to the accumulation of bacterial plaque and increased acidity in the oral cavity. The small amount of saliva produced during the night hours, the accumulation of bacteria and the increased acidity of the environment can lead to the destruction of the enamel.
  • A short brushing time, and as a consequence, a small number of movements will not give the proper effect. Unfortunately, most people brush their teeth for an average of 30-40 seconds.
  • Failure to timely replace the toothbrush (the nozzle, in cases of electric brushes). Dentists recommend you replace your brush every 3 months. Where the brush has been used outside the home or has been used by someone else, it should be replaced immediately. This is not only because the bristles are wearing down, but also because of the accumulation of bacteria and its spreading.
  • Excessive brushing. Too much pressure applies to the brushing surface and can cause trauma to mucous membranes and tooth enamel.
  • Brushing the teeth in the horizontal plane with back-and-forth motions. In combination with firm pressure, such brushing motions lead to pushing back the gum and exposing the neck of the tooth. In addition, in this case, the remains of food are not removed from the cavities, but clogged there. Mistakes made during oral hygiene treatment can lead to mucous membrane trauma and the opposite effect, so that food debris is not removed, but clogged in the interdental spaces and gum pockets.

Oral diseases in the absence of regular brushing


Carious tooth damage is caused by bacteria accumulating in areas that have not been properly cleaned from food debris. Once in a favorable environment, the bacteria actively reproduce and destroy tooth enamel. The development of further stages of the disease and the depth of the lesion are directly related to the timeliness of visits to the dentist.


Tooth plaque that is not removed in a timely manner can harden over time and form tartar. Not only does tartar cause an unpleasant and difficult-to-remove odor, but it can also cause gum inflammation and loose toothpieces. It is most often deposited in hard-to-reach areas, such as the space between the teeth and the inside of the teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can be traced to improper brushing. An inadequate toothbrush, harsh brushing and poor-quality toothpaste can cause damage to your gums, cheeks and tongue.

Other Dental Problems

Typically, untreated decay leads to serious consequences, manifested by the development of several diseases that can lead to loss of dental units and intoxication of the body.

Toothbrush storage and care

  • Your toothbrush should be cleaned under running water after use. Boiling water may be used for a better treatment. However, prolonged contact with high temperatures can damage the bristles and deform them.
  • Every 7 days, the brush should be treated with a disinfectant solution. The most readily available disinfectant is hydrogen peroxide.
  • Store the toothbrush in a specially adapted stand for toothbrushes, with good ventilation to prevent the accumulation of moisture, which leads to the formation of black mold.
  • To protect the bristles of toothbrushes from the external environment, it is advisable to use a special cap. Many manufacturers include this accessory in the package.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

Dental health care is a complicated process. However, with a few simple tips and tricks and a small amount of time, you can ensure the health of your teeth:

  • You should not consume boiling drinks;
  • Avoid biting into freezing ice cream;
  • You should not chew nuts;
  • You should not try to tear string or anything else with your teeth;
  • Don’t give up sweets, but don’t abuse them either;
  • And of course - do not forget to brush your teeth properly 2 times a day;

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly: Bottom Line

If you follow all the rules and techniques for proper dental cleaning described above, you will not only keep your teeth aesthetically appealing but also keep your mouth healthy. It is best to consult a dentist who will help you choose the right oral care products for your individual needs.