Most of us learn how to brush our teeth with a regular toothbrush from a very early age. But that doesn’t mean we’re taught the ideal brushing technique!
Indeed, lots of people scrape their toothbrushes across their teeth for a few seconds and call it a day. Then they’re surprised when their dentist reports that they have one or more cavities. Odds are it was because of improper brushing.
To avoid an outcome like this, you have to know how to brush your teeth with either a standard and electric toothbrush for maximum effect.
Let’s break good brushing technique down in detail now.
What Is the Proper Way to Brush Your Teeth?
No matter whether you’re using a standard or electric toothbrush, you should follow a basic hygiene routine when brushing your teeth to remove as much plaque and germs as possible.
Start by flossing your teeth, not brushing. Flossing before brushing your teeth is beneficial because it can break up hardened germs and plaque, allowing that plaque to be brushed away by your toothbrush afterward.
Flossing first also ensures that you always remember to do this part of your hygiene routine instead of skipping it.
Wet Your Brush
Next, take your toothbrush and wet it with tap water (especially if your tap water is infused with fluoride). Wetting your brush helps to soften the bristles and prevents them from scraping your gums or teeth too hard.
However, be sure to read the instructions for any toothpaste you plan to use with your brush. Some toothpaste products don’t require wetting.
For example, Supersmile’s Professional Whitening Toothpaste and Accelerator should not be placed on wet toothbrush heads. That’s because both formulas activate upon contact with water. For the best results, they should only become wet when they touch your mouth.
Place Your Toothbrush at a 45-Degree Angle
After wetting and/or putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, set your toothbrush in your mouth at a 45° angle relative to the surfaces of your teeth. A 45° angle helps the bristles hit the surfaces of your teeth indirectly while still providing enough force to remove embedded plaque and germs.
This special angle also prevents the erosion of enamel and damage to the gumline.
You can save yourself a little effort by purchasing toothbrushes that are designed to maintain 45° angles no matter how you hold the brush or which teeth you are brushing. Supersmile’s manual and electric toothbrushes both come with this feature by default: it’s just another reason why our brushes are the best.
Move in Small, Circular Motions
As you move the toothbrush around your teeth, be sure to maneuver the toothbrush head in small, circular motions. These motions are ideal for removing plaque and germs, as well as brushing the overall surface area of individual teeth.
In other words, small, circular motions prevent you from missing any spots on your teeth and allowing plaque to develop.
Brush the Outer, Inner, and Chewing Surfaces
When brushing your teeth, be sure not to only brush the chewing surfaces. While the chewing surfaces definitely need a lot of attention (as they are exposed to the most food), you also need to brush the outer and inner surfaces of each individual tooth.
The inner surfaces are often ignored by many people, probably because they don’t see them directly. But the inner surfaces provide havens for germs and plaque to collect. Brush everywhere on your teeth for maximum cleanliness.
Clean Your Tongue
Your tongue is another haven for germs. Stick it out in front of the mirror and you’ll likely see a bunch of off-white stuff on its surface.
Give the surface of your tongue a quick brush with your toothbrush. For even better results, we’d recommend using a tongue scraper: a specialized tool that can remove the majority of germs from your tongue. As an added benefit, this will likely improve your breath since halitosis-causing germs won’t be sticking around on your tongue all day.
Supersmile has just the thing: our Ripple Edge Tongue Cleaner pack. This pack of three tongue scrapers can help you enjoy a healthier mouth and fresher breath in no time. Plus, each scraper is ergonomically designed for ease-of-use and comfort.
After brushing your teeth and/or tongue (for two minutes!), you can rinse your mouth out and enjoy minty freshness. The only time you don’t want to rinse is if you are using a specialized fluoride-infused toothpaste, like a prescription paste ordered by your dentist.
These pastes are meant to settle in your mouth for a little while so the extra fluoride can remineralize your teeth and reduce cavity formation.
What Do I Need to Brush My Teeth?
You need a few big tools to brush your teeth correctly. Many of these are probably in your bathroom cabinet already.
You need a toothbrush, obviously. Toothbrushes come in both standard or manual and electric versions. Electric toothbrushes are recommended by most dentists due to their increased efficacy and ease of use.
You’ll also need toothpaste. Fluoride-infused toothpaste is the go-to choice for most people, as fluoride can remineralize tooth enamel and promote tooth health overall.
However, you might need fluoride-free toothpaste for your kids or because of other health issues. Fluoride-free toothpaste can still be effective, provided it is made with quality ingredients.
Don’t forget floss! Floss also comes in a few different types, but any type of floss will do provided you follow the correct flossing technique.
We’d also recommend mouthwash or oral rinses. These can maximize dental hygiene by sweeping away any remaining plaque or germs and making it difficult for new plaque to form for 24 hours or more.
What Are the Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush?
Electric toothbrushes are flatly superior to manual brushes in almost every case. There are a few reasons why.
May Remove Plaque Better
The constant rotations and vibrations of electric toothbrush heads are likely better at removing embedded plaque on the surfaces of your teeth, even if you were to use a manual toothbrush with significant arm strength.
Easier for People with Limited Mobility
Additionally, electric toothbrushes are easier for people to use if they have limited mobility or soreness in their hands.
Includes a Timer
Plenty of the best electric toothbrushes include two-minute timers, making it easy to make sure that you brush your teeth for an adequate amount of time each session.
Electric toothbrushes, by removing the need for you to time yourself, can help you improve your focus and make sure you brush every tooth individually.
Better for Braces
Lastly, electric toothbrushes are also better for people who have braces due to their increased ease of use and better cleaning potential.
Do I Need to Brush Differently with an Electric Toothbrush?
Many electric toothbrushes are designed with 45° angles so you can brush easily and thoroughly without expending too much effort. Supersmile’s Zina45 Sonic Pulse Toothbrush demonstrates this capability, featuring a polishing head, four unique cleaning modes, and an ergonomic handle to go with a 45° angled head.
However, you might consider moderating your strength when using an electric toothbrush.
It’s easy to go overboard and bruise your gums if you press down hard with an electric brush. In most cases, you don’t need to press down hard at all to get rid of plaque.
Which Is Better: A Standard Toothbrush or an Electric Toothbrush?
Nearly all dentists recommend electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes. The bristle movements they produce are faster than any a human hand could make, so they are flatly more effective at cleaning teeth.
When Should I Replace My Toothbrush?
You should either replace a manual toothbrush (or replace an electric toothbrush’s head) about once every three months. Toothbrush bristles gradually degrade over time, becoming less effective at cleaning away plaque and germs.
Additionally, germs can build up on the head of your toothbrush with time. Switching out your old toothbrush for a new one mitigates the risk of you spreading germs around your teeth and gums, plus ensures that you get excellent brushing results every time.
How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?
Most dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You should also brush after eating breakfast and dinner to minimize the amount of time your teeth have food particles on their surfaces or in between them.
You can brush up to three times per day if recommended by your dentist, but this is generally not a good idea. Over-brushing can wear down enamel and damage your gums.
Ultimately, your brushing technique will only be maximally effective if you have the right tools for the job. Check out Supersmile’s online store now for electric toothbrushes, fluoride-infused toothpaste, and more.
Brush Teeth | American Dental Association
Should I Floss or Brush First? | AAO
How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush? | Healthline
Electric toothbrushes win the head-to-head against manual | Dental Health.org