How to Brush Your Teeth Properly: The know-how and common mistakes

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly: The know-how and common mistakes

Your teeth are the first tool to let you enjoy the ecstatic delight of the delicious food you drool at. They are your first companion to make up for your impeccable smile besides adding to your overall beauty.

So possessing clean, white and flawless teeth is as important from the other perspectives as it is from a health point of perspective. It takes regular care and proper teething methods to get those unblemished set of teeth.

But if you have suddenly awakened from a long slumber of ignorance and are up on your toes to even out your wrong doings to your oral health care, then you have come at a right place.

While any serious decays or plaque formation must be taken to the information of your nearest oral healthcare advisor, you can count on us if you are looking for how to brush your teeth properly. We present to you a complete guide on brushing your teeth and we will sort out all your issues ranging from your toothbrush to the common questions you have.

brush teeth

Choosing the right Toothbrush

The first step in this process is choosing a right tool for you. Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles made from nylon. This is effective in removing all the plaque and debris built up on your teeth and also keeps your gums and sensitive enamel at peace.

The head should be of such a size that it can reach around the farthest part of your mouth too. Avoid toothbrush which have natural bristles made of animal hair as these can be a home to bacteria.

If you are a lazy brusher and think brushing is too difficult a task, then you may opt for an electric toothbrush too which are better at cleaning plaques than any manual brush. Electric tooth brush contains an oscillating or rotating head compensates for the lack of cleansing action from the end of the user.

With a very minute amount of movement through user, this can facilitate the cleaning in your mouth very well. But yes, you still need to position your brush correctly which is described further in this guide.





The frequency of Changing Toothbrush

Always remember, toothbrushes which have been subject to time borne wear and tear and are drastically worn- out, cannot help you in cleaning your teeth adequately. It is a good thing to change your toothbrush at least twice a year, or if possible, at an interval of every three months.

If you notice that the filaments or bristles are wearing out or there is any unduly collection of plaque at the base of your toothbrush earlier than what you speculated, then you must immediately replace your tool irrespective of the time period for which it had been used.

The same goes for toothbrushes whose filaments have splayed. Such toothbrush become home to many bacteria and it is definitely not a good idea to clean your mouth with a colony of harmful microorganisms or blob of dirt.

Choosing your Toothpaste wisely

While you can always use a regular family toothpaste, there are a number of options available for using specialised toothpaste.  If you have any oral problem then you might require choosing another toothpaste for yourself other than a regular fluoride toothpaste. This may include-

  • Tartar control toothpaste will help prevent tartar build up in your teeth
  • There are some toothpaste meant for sensitive toothpastes
  • Total care toothpaste will prevent even gum diseases and freshen up your breath
  • Whitening toothpastes will help restore that shining white teeth for you.

In contrast to the advertisements portraying thick blobs of toothpaste being mounted over the tooth brush, you actually need just a small amount, that of the size of a pea to brush your teeth sufficiently.

This is actually helpful in sustaining the cleansing action for longer time as you would not feel the urge to spit the froth formed in your mouth repeatedly and would also not swallow any toothpaste and prevent diseases resulting from fluoride.

For children below 2 years of age, a smear of pea- size is more than enough and should be strictly limited to the same amount because of the vulnerability of being ingested.  You must always make sure that children do not ingest the toothpaste and directly spit the toothpaste after brushing.


Mastering brushing Technique

Whether you use an electric toothbrush, or a manual one, everything actually lies in the technique.

Here is how to brush your teeth properly.

Step 1. Always keep your bristles at an angle of 45 degree with the gumline. Use gentle and short vertical and circular motions to brush around your teeth. Never brush across your teeth.


Step 2. You need spend at least 3 minutes while brushing your teeth. You must choose few teeth at a time and brush gently in circular motion for a few seconds, and then move on to another set of teeth. If you tend to get bored while brushing your teeth, try watching television or reading a newspaper simultaneously.


Step 3. Always brush your molars too. For that you need to maintain a perpendicular angle with your brush to your lips such that the brush rests on molars. Use in-and-out motion to brush properly.



Step 4. Don’t forget to brush the inner surface of teeth. This is often the most commonly skipped area while brushing so be sure that you cover it while brushing. You can hold your teeth apart by using your fingers, so that you can create that vertical angle required for proper brushing.


Step 5. Brush your tongue too. You can do so by using the bristles of the toothbrush or a tongue cleaner.

step 5



Step 6. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. Swish it in your mouth, gargle and spit.

Step 7. Rinse your toothbrush too to maintain the cleanliness

Step 8. An optional step might include using a fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth at the end of the entire procedure.

Cleaning Between the Teeth

It is very important that you make it a habit to clean between your teeth. This removes plaque and small bits of food caught up between your teeth which can later lead to tooth decay.

What you need for this is an interdental brush or more easily available  dental floss, There is also an option to use dental tape, which in general is thicker than the floss and that’s the reason why people find it easier to use.  The general guidelines for flossing are as follows-

  1. Discard the first 45 centimetres of floss and wind the two ends, which must include the most part of the floss on to your middle fingers. You will use the other finger to wind the used floss as you proceed with the cleaning.
  2. Hold it between thumb and forefinger. There should be about an inch of floss between them. Be cautious not to leave any slack. Now carefully rock the floss between your teeth and be careful of not snapping it in between.
  3. As soon as the floss reaches gumline, turn it into C-shape against a tooth till you start feeling the tension.
  4. Hold it, and gently scrape the sides of the tooth and keep it moving away from gum.


It might happen that your gums turn sore or bleed lightly for the initial days. But don’t give up, as the bleeding would stop once the plaque is cleaned.

In case there is persisted bleeding, then you may contact your dentist, as it can mean that you are not flossing properly. If you wear braces, then you may as well go for dental picks. These are wooden or plastic stick like and you can easily insert them between teeth.

Cleaning Between the Teeth


Cleaning You Dentures

If you feel that you are free from all these liabilities and chores of boggling your mind over such oral healthcare issues because you’ve already shed your teeth and are living on dentures, then this is absolutely wrong.

It is equally important to clean your dentures properly to save you from any extra expense and from any oral infection as it is to clean your natural teeth. The food you eat might end up being caught up around the clasps and edges of dentures and can continue to rot there if it is not cleansed thoroughly.

Follow this rule of thumb : Brush, soak, brush. Brush the dentures before soaking them so that any tidbits of food are removed. Use the special denture cleaner and then brush it again.


Common questions in Oral care

  1. Can anything go wrong?

Yes, if you do not pay proper attention, then you may end up with tooth cavity, dental carries, plaque, gum bleeding and to the worse, an abscess.


  1. What is the best way to care for teeth and gums?

The best way is to follow this guide while brushing your teeth and brush your teeth at least twice in a day.  Make regular visits to your doctor and get your teeth diagnosed if anything troubles you. Never forget to cleanse in between your teeth as this is the biggest factor which leads to tooth decay.


  1. What is plaque and what are its consequences?

This a sticky, thin film of bacteria formed up on your teeth which consistently erodes your enamel. If this plaque is not cleared, it may lead to erosion of your gums and can even harden to become calculus.

Calculus releases harmful poison which can further cause inflammation your gums too. Eroded enamel may lead to teeth sensitivity.


  1. Is there a way to prevent gum disease?

Easiest way to prevent gum diseases is to prevent the food from decaying between your teeth and gums. For this you need to floss regularly and clear all the plaque from your mouth and gum.  Left over plaque can harden into tartar which can only be removed by an expert and will cost a fortune.


  1. How do I select my toothbrush?

Although this is already dealt with before, it is safe to say here that if you are absolutely confused about what you should choose, then consult your dental team.  For people with diseases like Parkinson’s disease who might find it difficult to hold the brush properly, you can use brushes with larger handles and specifically angled head which makes them easier to hold.


  1. How do I get to know that my gums are suffering?

This is frequently asked question because generally, gum diseases are painless and often go unnoticed. Although being painless, it can wretch havoc upon your teeth and the bone supporting it. Gingivitis appears as a red, swollen gum that will often very easily bleed, even if you are brushing your teeth with super soft bristles.

But the important thing here is that you shouldn’t stop brushing after you notice any specs of blood in your gums, as it would only worsen the condition. You can definitely be more gentle on your gums but do not stop brushing and cleaning the gums all together.


  1. What difference does my diet make to my oral health?

You must have heard that diet, especially the ones loaded with sugar can trigger the process of tooth decay. You were often advised as a child by your elders to stop eating candies too much, or to avoid cola, else you would end up with a tooth cavity.

Well, sugar does make a difference to your teeth, but the thing to be understood here is that it is not the amount of your sugar intake which adds to the tooth decay, it is the frequency of intake which does.

When you eat any food containing sugar, the bacteria in your mouth which feed on this sugar produce acid. The acid can cause decay and also erode the hard enamel of your teeth causing a very common condition called “teeth sensitivity”. This acid needs to be a given a time of about an hour to be neutralised and if you continue the sugar intake during this time, then your teeth become vulnerable to decay.

So if you limit your sugar intake to just your meals, then there’s no chance that sugar will be a factor in deteriorating the health of your teeth and gums. Drinking water after you have your meals or by chance fall for any snacks is the biggest weapon you can have to neutralise the acid formed.  And when we say sugar, we also mean fizzy drinks, wine and even chewing gums.

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