Proper Tooth Brushing Technique

Using the proper brushing technique is vital for good teeth health.

The Most Common Mistake

The most common mistake is to scrub vigorously at your teeth. I used to do this as if the harder I scrubbed the better I was cleaning. WRONG.

In fact, when you scrub your teeth with force you are doing damage to your teeth. When you do this you are causing recession of your gums. On top of that you are also wearing away the glossy enamel on your teeth. While you may think that scrubbing it hard is the right thing to do to make your teeth whiter, you are actually making it look more yellow and darker.

Instead, you want to think about gently massage your teeth and gums as if you are polishing an apple or a car.

The Fix to the Most Common Mistake

Using an electric toothbrush fixes a multitude of mistakes and definitely helps with reducing the pressure with which you are scrubbing. For many of us, we have just been so engrained with the fact that we need to scrub hard.

The random motions of an electric toothbrush not only prevent you from continuously scrubbing the same area, it also increases the chances you will hit every nook and cranny. Because the toothbrush is doing the scrubbing, you reflexively apply less force.

I personally recommend just buying the most inexpensive electric toothbrush that has enough features and does the job. This one in particular is ADA approved and works well in my opionion. If you want to make sure you aren’t applying too much force and damaging your teeth, I recommend this Philips electric toothbrush. The Philips Sonicare ProtectClean Electric Toothbrush monitors to make sure that you are not applying too much pressure.

Proper Angle

The surfaces of your teeth will be scrubbed pretty much regardless of your brushing technique. So instead, you want to focus on your gum-line. This is where a lot of stray food particles or plaque will build up, so you want to gently focus on these areas. You want to angle your tooth brush at about a 45 degrees angle into your gum-line.

Brush for two minutes

Brush your teeth for two minutes. You can use a timer (I loved using the flip sand timers growing up). The good thing about many electric toothbrushes such as the ones I recommended above is that they have built-in two minute timers. They also buzz every 30 seconds so that you can spend about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.

Spit, but Don’t Rinse

After you are done brushing, spit out the excess toothpaste in your mouth but do not rinse your mouth. I know it feels wrong to not rinse out your mouth. You need to let the fluoride sit in your mouth to let it take its time to remineralize/strengthen your enamel. You can check out my article on the correct order for brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash for more on this.

And while we are on the topic of fluoride, MAKE SURE that you buy a toothpaste with stannous fluoride in it (preferably Colgate’s Total SF toothpaste).