Correct tooth brushing technique removes plaque
Plaque is a clear film that collects on the teeth. It results from the action of bacteria in the mouth, can cause tooth decay but is easily removed with a tooth brush. Optimal plaque removal requires good brushing technique – so it makes sense to know how to do it well.
Best brush and technique tips:
First, check the brush has soft bristles to protect the enamel from damage with brushing over time.
The correct action requires:
- Angle the brush head to around 45° – to let the tips of the bristles clean under the edge of the gum;
- Use a gentle pressure to just bend the bristles. Pressing too hard bends the bristles apart so that the tips are not even contacting the gumline – and will quickly turn a new toothbrush into a ‘shaggy dog’!
- Don’t scrub back and forth. Instead practice a circular motion, working on the same two to three teeth for 10 seconds before moving on. Continue this gentle, circular motion on all sides of the teeth – the tongue side, cheek side and biting surface.
- Behind the lower front teeth is a common problem area. The way to clean effectively here is to hold the brush vertically, and work it up and down, moving gradually from one side to the other.
- A great way to check your progress is by using disclosing tabs. They reveal where plaque remains after brushing and show you where extra attention is required.
It takes time to do a good job. Allow yourself a full three minutes, once to twice per day – it’s likely time well spent!