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How to Brush Your Teeth

There are only a few hard and fast rules when it comes to how to brush your teeth. That said, many people still find them tough to follow. Good oral health starts with keeping your teeth and gums clean and can help you stave off cavities and gum disease. Here’s how to properly brush your teeth and a few tips to help you stick with it. 

A Step by Step Guide

brushing teeth at 45-degree angle
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. 
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth For?

how long should you brush your teeth?

Brush for at least 2 minutes. Most of us brush for only about 45 seconds—well short of 2 minutes. To get an idea of what 2 minutes actually feels like, set a timer or play a song while you brush.

How Many Times a Day Should You Brush Your Teeth?

how many times should you brush your teeth a day?

You should make sure to brush your teeth twice a day. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, allowing you to reach every area.

What Are the Best Tooth Brushing Techniques?

woman brushing her teeth with pronamel

Studies show that excessively vigorous brushing can damage enamel. Use a soft-bristled brush and try gripping it like a pencil to help get the right angle for gentle brushing.

One widely recommended technique is to brush in small circles with short strokes. Be sure to brush the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

And here’s a helpful trick: pretend you’re painting your teeth and cover the entire surface of each tooth with the brush.

How Long Should I Wait After Eating to Brush My Teeth?

How Long Before Eating To Brush Teeth?

If you typically brush after eating breakfast, try to wait. Waiting to brush is even more important if you eat or drink something acidic, such as citrus. Brushing too soon after having acidic foods or drinks can remove enamel on your teeth that’s been weakened by the acid.

Should You Brush Your Gums?

Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing at least twice every day, can help prevent some gum infections, cavities, and tooth loss. Brushing too hard or with hard bristles can damage your gums, so be sure to use good techniques.

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

Replace your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

How Do I Brush My Teeth If I Have Braces? 

Brushing your teeth with braces is pretty straightforward, but it does take a couple of extra steps.

Girl With Braces Swimming
  • Get your toothbrush ready with a little bit of water and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Carefully clean around your braces, including under the wires and pins.
  • Brush the actual wires of your braces so that they’re free of any food particles that could cause plaque or bacteria buildup.
  • Brush your teeth as you normally would.
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