How Good is your Brushing?

Teeth brushing is something that is a daily ritual for just about everyone, and if it isn’t – then it should be! It is important to brush in the morning and evening to keep teeth clean and prevent cavities. But do you know that you can actually cause harm to your teeth or gums by using improper technique? In this article Dr. Justin Sycamore DDS provides some steps to make sure you are maintaining oral health without any negative side effects.


The first thing you need to do is look at your toothbrush. Only use a soft bristled brush. They shouldn’t make anything but a soft toothbrush. But there are people who are looking to buy a medium or hard toothbrush so companies make them. The plaque that needs to be removed is very soft and doesn’t take much to remove. So a soft brush works perfectly. Harder bristles can cause eventual abrasion to the hard enamel and immediate damage to the gums.


 The next thing is look at the age of the toothbrush. With age and wear, the bristles become nonuniform and the bristle tips can fray. The frayed tips become a harbor for plaque and bacteria and reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning. As a general rule, toothbrushes should be replaced every 2 to 3 months. There are some toothbrushes that have colored tips that fade over time and when the color is gone then it’s time to get a new brush. While that’s a good reminder to change your brush, just look at it from time to time and replace it regularly.


Technique is important too! The movement should be circular in nature. The brush should be held at a 45 degree angle so that the bristles slightly slip between the gums and teeth. You should avoid back and forth or up and down movements. Just small circles. You don’t need to use much force either. Very slight pressure should be applied to the teeth.

Timing is everything! Brush for two minutes. It doesn’t sound like much but most people brush for about 20 seconds. So get out a timer and get used to brushing for a full two minutes. I like to divide my mouth into four quadrants and spend 30 seconds in each section. If you have braces then add an extra minute to give yourself ample time to get everything clean!

That’s it! It’s not hard to follow these simple steps to maintain your oral health. The most important thing is to be consistent with all of these tips so that they become good habits. You’ll be sure to get an “A” at your next dental check-up!