How to Brush Your Teeth

Tooth brushing techniques

There are quite a few different ways that you can brush your teeth with a manual toothbrush. Each different brushing method has its advantages & disadvantages, but above all, any brushing technique can cause injury to the gums when excessive force is applied to the brush.

Proper Tooth Brushing Technique

  • Brush teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day.
  • Make gentle movements with the toothbrush. Try not to press too hard when brushing your teeth as it can lead to early recession of the gum line & the slew of other problems that follow the loss of the gingival tissue that encompasses the root of the tooth.
  • Brush all accessible surfaces of your teeth. Don’t forget to hit the front, back, and top of every tooth during your daily brushing sessions.

Brushing outside tooth surface Brushing inside of tooth surface Brushing top tooth surface

Teeth Brushing Methods

  • Proper brush angle for many brushing techniquesBass or Sulcular Brushing Method: Most recommended brushing technique that aims to remove plaque building up below the gum line. This method involves tilting the toothbrush so that the bristles meet the teeth at a 45 degree angle. The brush is moved gently in circular motions around 15-20 times, cleaning 2-3 teeth at a time before moving to the next set. The Bass method is effective at removing plaque & may provide good stimulation for gingival tissue, but can also cause injury to the gums if you press to hard while brushing.
  • Stillman Brushing Method: Similarly to the Bass method, the Stillman method places the bristles at a 45 degree angle in relation to the tooth, but this method also makes more of an effort to massage the gum tissue simultaneously. This method can be great for massaging & stimulating the gingival tissue, but is less effective at removing plaque below the gum line and can be more risky for causing injury to the gums if gentle motions are not used to brush.
  • Charter Brushing Method: Brush is held at a 45 degree angle towards the chewing side of the teeth as opposed to a 45 degree angle towards the gum line which is used for the Stillman & Bass techniques. Gently but firm motions are used to press the bristles against tooth surfaces before moving on to the next area of the mouth. This method can be difficult because of the angle in which the toothbrush has to be held at and it is less effective than the previous 2 techniques at removing subgingival plaque.
  • Scrub Brush Method: Often the standard method used to clean teeth, this technique involves rigorous vertical & horizontal motions for every surface of your teeth. It is less effective than any of the previously mentioned methods at removing plaque and can lead to recession of the gums when too much force is used while brushing.
  • Fones or Circular Brushing Method: The Fones method is a quicker technique for brushing your teeth. It involves placing the brush over a set of teeth, not at a particular angle, and then brushing each set 4-5 times with gentle, circular motions. This technique is not as effective at cleaning the interdental space between your teeth.
  • Leonard or Vertical Brushing Method: Bristles of toothbrush are lined up at a 90 degree angle to the surface of the tooth. Rigorous but gentle vertical motions are used to clean both the top & bottom set of teeth individually. This technique can be effective for children with their first set of teeth still in, but it is not effective at cleaning the space in between each set of teeth for adults.
  • Roll Technique: Brush is placed on gum tissue at bottom of the tooth and then rolled over the shape of the tooth.

Tooth Brushing FAQs

Which Toothbrush Should I Buy?

While there is no one-size-fits all solution for which toothbrush is the best for you, there are some general recommendations we can give regarding the characteristics you should be looking for when choosing a toothbrush.

  • Stay electric. Unless there are specific issues you are trying to address with the use of a manual toothbrush, we would always recommend using an electric toothbrush to get the most out of your cleaning sessions. Not only do electric brushes tend to be more effective than removing plaque than manual ones, many also have systems in place to remind you to brush longer.
  • Soft bristles. The chances of causing serious damage to your gums & teeth through your brushing technique are much less when the brush itself has softer bristles. If you are the type of person who has any signs of gingivitis or other issues that can be caused by brushing too hard, then a soft-bristled brush may be exactly what you need.

What is the most important aspect of my brushing technique?

If you’re looking to make quick improvements to your brushing technique, the most important thing you can focus on is making sure you’re using the right amount of pressure when applying the brush to your teeth. The pressure being applied should be firm but gentle. A sign that you may be pushing too hard on your teeth is if the bristles on your brush are bent out of shape and being flattened.

Another important aspect to focus on when improving your brushing technique is the angle in which the brush is applied to your teeth. A 45 degree angle toward the gums is almost always optimal, and you should aim to maintain this type of angle when brushing all of the surfaces on each tooth.

Need Help Keeping Your Teeth Clean? Give Us A Call

Carson & Carson, DDS in Oxnard, California offers patients affordable dental care from 45 years experienced dentists.Receive care from a dental team with over 45 years of experience at Carson & Carson, DDS. Get affordable preventative dental care year round. We strive to not only provide some of the finest dental care in all of Ventura County but also to educate our patients about various dental topics and red flags to keep an eye out for with your oral health. Give us a call today (805) 983-0717 to schedule a consultation or visit our dental services page to learn more about the treatments we offer.

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