Dental Hygienist

How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

Published on 03/07/2024

Most of us learn how to brush our teeth when we are children and then never revisit the process as we get older. But did you know the way you brush your teeth should change as you get older and as your mouth changes.

As a child, the focus is often on the chewing surface, as children are more likely to eat sweets that get stuck in the cusps of the teeth. To protect against tooth decay, children are taught to focus on removing food debris from their teeth.

As you get older, the risk of gum disease increases and you need to make sure you are giving adequate attention to the gum line. If you have receding gums, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash becomes more important.

To help ensure you are caring for your teeth as well as you can, this blog is a little refresher course on how to care for your teeth properly at home.

Choosing the right brush

Choosing the right brush

An electric toothbrush will make light work of caring for your teeth. Most electric toothbrushes will have a timer included to help ensure you are brushing for long enough. Keep it well-charged to ensure sufficient power and make sure you change the brush head every 3 – 4 months.

If you prefer a manual toothbrush, make sure you choose one that is right for your gums. Too firm, and you might risk damaging your gums. Too soft, and it won’t be effective for removing plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth.

Vary your brushing style

Brushing with a manual toothbrush will require a change in style. You should brush back and forth along all surfaces of the teeth and then switch to a circular motion to help clean around the gum line.

If you’re not sure if you are brushing correctly, visit a dental hygienist for advice. They will be able to see areas in your mouth that you are missing. You can also use a specialist mouthwash that turns plaque a different colour so you can see areas in your mouth that you have missed.

Flossing – before or after?

Flossing – before or after?

We recommend flossing before you brush as you can then brush away any debris. If you forget or if you prefer to floss after you have brushed, you can always finish with a swish of mouthwash to help leave your mouth feeling extra fresh.

You need to floss between every tooth and gently move the floss down to the gum line. If you haven’t flossed before, you might notice some bleeding the first time you try it. This should subside once it becomes a regular part of your routine.

Cleaning your tongue

An often neglected part of the oral care routine is the tongue. Your tongue can collect lots of bacteria and lead to bad breath. A tongue scraper will help to give you a fresh mouth free from bacteria, which can help to keep bad breath at bay.

A swish of mouthwash

A swish of mouthwash

Mouthwash at the end of your brushing routine can be helpful to kill off any remaining bacteria and leave you with a fresher than fresh mouth. If you have any signs of gum disease, use a specialist mouthwash to help tackle this. Otherwise, any mouthwash will work. Swish it around your mouth and then spit it into the sink. Just be sure not to then rinse your mouth with water or you’ll be undoing all of the hard work.

If you want to check if you’ve been brushing your teeth correctly, book an appointment with your dentist. We can offer personalised feedback and advice on your routine to help you to care for your teeth.