Proper Brushing FAQs

Mouth open or mouth closed?

Before breakfast or after breakfast?

Flat or at an angle?

Manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush?

We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a brush a get to work, right?

Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing those pearly whites. The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works.

We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.” What’s even correct these days?!

Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions)
guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy dos and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Proper Brushing Habits:

1. Don’t: Keep your brush flat.

  • Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing.

2. Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!

  • Do: Use short, circular strokes.

3. Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!

  • Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel.

4. Don’t: Go one and done.

  • Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus fruits or soda). If you have something acidic to eat or drink, remember to wait 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.

5. Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life.

  • Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember: switch out on the first day of each season.

6. Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds.

  • Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.

7. Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container.

  • Do: All your toothbrush to air dry.

8. Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it.

  • Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet.

9. Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush.

  • Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel
    And there we have it! Some easy practices to keep that perfect smile.

10. Don't: Brush your teeth before meals or snacks.

  • Do: Brushing your teeth AFTER meals and snacks will remove more food debris and plaque off your teeth than brushing them before.

Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven brushing techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit.  Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention.  For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page.  Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention!  Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy!  Start here. All of our forms are online.  Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send.  On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time.  For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

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