Brushing is something most of us do (at least once per day, hopefully). We have been doing it since we were kids. How hard could it be?

Effective brushing is not hard. But it does require concentration to be effective. (The same goes for flossing).

Effective brushing means:

  • Use a soft toothbrush. You do not want to be rough with your gums. And aggressive bushing doesn’t clean any better. Really. Gentle and thorough will keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy. If you use an electric toothbrush, see the note below.*
  • Start on the inside (tongue side) of the bottom teeth all the way in the back. This is the most difficult place to brush and is missed most often when brushing.
  • Place the toothbrush at the gumline with the bristles directed into the gums at a 45 degree angle. This is where you need to be sure the toothbrush is AT THE GUMLINE. It might feel as if the bristles of the toothbrush are on the gums, but you have to look to be sure. (Your tongue will try to push the toothbrush away from the gum line. KEEP IT AT THE GUMLINE!
  • Using a gentle back and forth brushing motion, staying at the gumline, and brush EACH tooth 10 STROKES before moving to the next tooth.
  • Let’s repeat that. 10 STOKES PER TOOTH. AT THE GUMLINE. And yes, the toothbrush rests against two or three teeth, but you want to concentrate on one tooth at a time.
  • Brush from the inside of the last tooth on one side to the last tooth on the opposite side.
  • Now brush the inside of the upper teeth. CONCENTRATE AT THE GUMLINE. BRUSH 10 STROKES PER TOOTH.
  • Brush the outsides (cheek and lip side) of the teeth last. This is the easiest side to brush and the side where it is easiest to make sure the toothbrush is AT THE GUMLINE. Again, 10 STROKES PER TOOTH.

*NOTE: If you are using an electric toothbrush with a timer, it is already brushing each tooth 10 strokes (2 minutes total brushing time). Also remember, use light pressure against the teeth and gums. Most electric toothbrushes use some type of movement of the bristles to clean the teeth. The harder you push, the less the bristles move and the less they clean.