How effective is your brushing technique?

Proper tooth brushing is fundamental to good oral health. By brushing your teeth, you’ll help prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth in tip condition for longer. Despite this, many still don’t know how to brush their teeth effectively – and many fail to brush their teeth at all.

Statistics from the British Dental Health Foundation have revealed that one in four adults don’t brush their teeth twice a day. In fact, a third of men have admitted they don’t bother with the twice-daily habit. Laziness isn’t the only culprit though; one in ten admit that they regularly forget to brush their teeth. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 31% of adults have tooth decay and 66% have visible plaque. 29% also suffer from regular dental pain – something else that’s exasperated by failing to brush your teeth.

Brushing technique: How to brush for optimum results

How effective is your brushing technique

Cleaning your teeth is easy once you know how. A proper brush should take two minutes in total – any less than this and you’re likely to be doing a poor job. Many electric toothbrushes are fitted with a timer, which tells you when the time is up. Some also offer other timings, which prompt when you should begin brushing a different area of your mouth.

To brush your teeth:

  1. Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth
  2. Clean the outer surfaces of your bottom teeth
  3. Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth
  4. Clean the inner surfaces of your bottom teeth
  5. Clean the top of your molars (chewing surfaces)
  6. Finish off by cleaning your tongue – a great way to ensure fresh breath


As you follow this guide, it’s important to make sure you’re using your brush effectively too. Use short strokes and be gentle – you don’t want to aggravate your gums. It’s important to remember that your gums need cleaning too – especially around the gum line where food often gets caught.

Four common errors to avoid!

  1. Using the wrong toothbrush

Toothbrush heads vary in size and you should be using one that feels comfortable to use and is the appropriate size for your mouth. If it’s too big, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get into all those hard-to-reach areas where food can gather.

How effective is your brushing technique

  1. Using an old toothbrush

One in five can’t remember when they last changed their toothbrush. Brushes should actually be replaced every three months or sooner. As soon as the bristles start to become misshapen, you should replace your brush to ensure maximum effectiveness.

How effective is your brushing technique

  1. Scrubbing not brushing

A light touch is really important. The toothbrush can do all the work – it just needs to be guided by your hand. Aggressive brushing isn’t required to remove plaque and brushing too hard can actually wear down your enamel.


How effective is your brushing technique

  1. Autopilot brushing

Do you always begin brushing in the same place and find yourself drifting off during the activity? If so, you may find you get lazy when it comes to the last minute or so of brushing and even miss out key areas. Keep track of which areas you’ve brushed and consider switching it up every so often.

How effective is your brushing technique

For more advice on dental care and oral hygiene, book an appointment to see your AP Smilecare dentist today.

Have you done anything else to improve your oral health over recent months? If so, we’d love to know! Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @APSmilecare