Skip to main content

Could You Be Brushing Better?

Young man happy about brushing teeth.

We all understand the basics of oral hygiene: brush twice a day, floss regularly, and visit your dentist for routine check-ups. Yet, even with these practices firmly in place, there’s often room for improvement.

Are you maximizing the benefits of your daily brushing routine? Let’s take a closer look into effective brushing and flossing techniques to ensure your smile stays healthier longer.

Brushing Basics

Brushing your teeth is the basic foundation of good oral health, but it’s not just about moving the brush back and forth. Effective brushing removes plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. If it gets out of control, plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

As we mentioned, you always want to brush at least twice each day. Make sure you brush for a full two minutes each time. You should also floss in between each tooth once per day.

Brush Like a Pro

Once you’ve got the basics down, here’s how to elevate your brushing game.

Choose the Right Tools

Choose a toothbrush that works for you. We always recommend a soft-bristled brush that allows you to reach all areas easily. An electric toothbrush may be a great option as it can offer a more thorough cleaning for some people.

Perfect Your Technique

Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short, tooth-wide strokes. Be sure you brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces (or tops) of your teeth. For the inner surfaces of front teeth, which can be tricky to get to, tilt your toothbrush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Time It

Brushing for at least two minutes is recommended so that you can adequately clean all of your teeth. Some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers, but if you’re using a manual brush, consider using a stopwatch, timer, or your phone to keep track. It is surprisingly easy to underestimate your tooth-brushing time.

Don’t Forget the Tongue

Bacteria love to linger on your tongue, leading to bad breath and potentially affecting your overall oral health. You should gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush or, instead, use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria and freshen breath.


We will say it again: while brushing is crucial, flossing is equally important. It removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line, areas your toothbrush can’t reach. Here’s how to floss more effectively:

Use Enough Floss

Break off about 18 inches of floss. Wind most of it around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the same finger of the other hand to take up the used floss as you go.

Be Gentle

Don’t snap the floss into your gums. Curve it against one tooth, so that the floss makes a ‘C’ shape, and gently move it between your teeth using a controlled back-and-forth motion.

Don’t Skip Teeth

It’s easy to miss the teeth at the back of your mouth, but they need cleaning just as much as the front ones. Be thorough and methodical to ensure you floss between all your teeth.

Consider Alternatives if Needed

If you find traditional floss hard to handle, don’t give up on flossing. Try floss picks, pre-threaded flossers, water flossers, or interdental brushes. These alternatives can also be effective at cleaning between your teeth.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even with the best intentions, there are common pitfalls many of us fall into. Here’s what to watch out for.

Brushing Too Hard

This can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, and lead to sensitivity. Let the bristles do the work, and brush gently.

Using the Wrong Toothpaste

Select a fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Fluoride helps protect your teeth from decay.

Not Changing Your Toothbrush

Replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Don’t Skip Professional Cleanings

Brushing and flossing are the foundation of your oral health. But even if you are brushing and flossing perfectly, you shouldn’t skip professional dental cleanings twice per year. We clean deeper and more thoroughly than what you can accomplish at home, plus we can answer any dental hygiene questions you have. 

Book your professional cleaning today!


You Might Also Enjoy...