What’s the best way to brush your teeth? It’s a question that is central to dental health and yet rarely is there a complete consensus. Sure we know to brush for 2 minutes, twice a day, but are we brushing correctly for those crucial 4 minutes? Well we looked into this and found that a group of researchers have been looking into the matter closely.
How to Brush Properly
Many people hear that brushing in fancy circular motions is best. Researchers at University College London have found that such ornate motions are not needed. Instead they’ve found, “a simple, gentle scrub was found to be ‘perfectly effective’ at keeping gums healthy.” According to their studies, a horizontal brushing motion, with the brush held like a pencil at a 45 degree angle, is generally sufficient to access dental plaque. In fact, there’s no point in creating elaborate brushing techniques because acid is produced within two minutes of the first bite or sip of food or drink.
One of the study’s main motivations was the lack of agreement on brushing technique. Some, such as Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health, goes as far as to say it’s “unacceptably inconsistent.” Different dentists and dental associations offer different tips for brushing. The lack of consistency then leads to know proper technique being adopted. Ultimately, the patient suffers. Another worrying tendency is that the methods recommended by dental associations are not the same as the best ones mentioned in dental textbooks.
According to the study, which was published in the British Dental Journal, the most commonly-recommended technique involves gently jiggling the brush back and forth in small motions, with the intention of shaking loose any food particles, plaque and bacteria. But no study has showed whether this is as effective as basic scrubbing, he said. Professor Sheiham advised people to:
- Brush gently with a simple horizontal scrubbing motion
- With the brush at a 45 degree angle to get to the dental plaque
- To avoid brushing too hard, hold the brush with a pencil grip rather than a fist. This simple method is perfectly effective at keeping your gums healthy.
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate and top-quality comprehensive care dentist located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee. Check out our website, reviews, Facebook page Connect with us and learn!