Brushing our teeth is something we’ve all been doing for as long as we can remember. And when you’ve done something for almost your entire life, you’d like to think you’re pretty good at it. But that may well not be the case - as there’s a good chance you might actually be getting your brushing technique wrong.
The fact that brushing is so automatic to us means we’re more likely to zone out while doing it, missing parts of our mouth and giving the parts we do cover poor attention. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Anyone can maximise their oral health by following a few simple brushing tips:
This is the big one. The NHS advises two minutes to be the sufficient duration of brushing to give your entire mouth the attention it needs. This should be ample time to thoroughly work your way round your whole mouth, making sure you don’t miss any surfaces (more on this later).
And of course we all know that brushing twice daily is a must to prevent plaque building up. The NHS recommends we brush last thing before bed, as well as one other time during the day (the morning is best).
Rather than taking long brush strokes up and down or back and forth, try to brush with a tight circular or elliptical motion. The reason for this is simple - we’re a lot more likely to under-brush or even miss certain parts of our teeth the longer each stroke is. A smaller, more circular technique means you can apply a more consistent, intensive treatment all over.
This might sound like another obvious tip, but it bears repeating. Too gentle, and you’ll have no chance of shifting the plaque and bacteria from your mouth. Too aggressively, and you run the risk of damaging the teeth’s enamel or causing your gums to bleed.
Don’t try to scour your teeth with your brush, but massage them instead.
The angle we brush at is something a lot of us get wrong, and can be a quick win to improve technique. When brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, do so at a 45 degree angle - this ensures the bristles can get fully between your teeth and gums and you’ll be less likely to miss any debris. Flossing after brushing should catch whatever’s left as well as clean plaque from the 40% of your mouth that the brush simply won't reach.
When it comes to the chewing surfaces of the teeth, we recommend you hold the brush flat, while the inside surfaces can be cleaned with short, sharp upwards and downwards strokes.
Firm but careful brushing of the gums is equally as important as taking care of your teeth. Periodontal disease is one of the most serious oral health problems so we have to be vigilant not to neglect this area. In particular, the line between gum and teeth is especially important for clearing plaque and bacteria that can linger out of sight.
Our tongues can also be hotspots for bacteria - use the brush to scrape gently from back to front to clear this bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
While it’s good to have a settled routine for brushing our teeth, we also need to think in relation to when we eat or drink. It’s important not to brush too soon after eating or drinking - especially if you’ve just consumed something especially acidic like a fizzy drink or citrus fruit. This is because an abrasive action like brushing will only help acids to erode your teeth if done too soon.
We also need to think about timing when rinsing after brushing. It’s advisable not to do so straight away as you’ll clear the fluoride that is so important for strengthening teeth.
These simple but vital brushing pointers can add up to a big improvement in your mouth’s health. At Floe, that’s what we’re all about: small, positive changes to oral care routines that compound over time. Our subscription box has everything you need to start brushing well every time.
Our Swiss-made Curaprox brushes have 5460 bristles for exceptional cleaning power, meaning you’ll really feel the benefit of brushing at that 45 degree angle. What’s more, we’ll deliver you a new one - along with our specialist Dawn and Dusk toothpastes and natural activated charcoal floss - every three months. You’ll never have an excuse not to brush twice daily for two minutes again!
With the right tools from Floe and the key tips we’ve discussed here, it’s easy to correct your technique and start brushing perfectly.