How should I brush my teeth?

The proper tooth brushing technique is to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums. Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Use the toe of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke. Also, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. 
Brush your teeth in small circles, two teeth at a time, at a 45 degree angle to the tooth enamel. Brush your teeth at least two times per day slowly over 1-2 minutes. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal and especially after eating sugary foods.
To effectively brush your teeth, buy a toothbrush with a small head to easily reach all parts of your mouth, teeth and gums. It is best to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each brushing. Take care of that BEAUTIFUL SMILE!!!
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD

It's easy to keep your teeth and gums healthy -- if you know the right way to brush your teeth. Unfortunately, many people don't. In this video, dentist and prosthodontist Jonathan Levine, DMD, reveals the keys.

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day is important for keeping your mouth healthy. Listen as Dr. Maria Lopez Howell explains why proper oral hygiene can help you keep your smile forever.

There are various techniques for brushing your teeth, so it's a good idea to ask your dentist which one to use. Here are a few tips to help you develop a good routine:

Place the toothbrush at a slight angle toward the gums when brushing along the gumline.

Move the brush back and forth with short, gentle strokes. It doesn't take much pressure to remove the plaque from your teeth, and vigorous scrubbing could irritate your gums. Clean all the surfaces of the teeth:
  • the outer surfaces
  • the inner (tongue side) tooth surfaces
  • the chewing surfaces
  • and the inside of the front teeth
Gently brush your tongue -- including the back -- to help remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you brush your teeth gently back and forth against the gumline at a 45-degree angle. All surfaces of the teeth should be targeted, front, back, and all chewing surfaces. You should only need to brush for two minutes, if you use the proper technique. To reach the inside of the front teeth, it may help to use the toe of your toothbrush in a gentle up and down motion. After brushing all teeth, brushing the tongue can help remove germs and improve your breath. It's also best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent premature wear of your teeth.

Teeth should be brushed with a soft bristle tooth brush. Place the brush on the gum, and brush up for the lower teeth and down for the upper teeth. This should be done on both sides of the tooth. The top of the teeth should be brushed with a back and forth motion. Ideally teeth should be brushed after every meal.
Carol Jahn
Good toothbrushing relies on technique and time. It is important to make sure that the bristles are placed along the gumline to remove the plaque that is trapped there. A short back and forth motion or small circles is generally effective.

Second, conventional wisdom indicates that brushing for two minutes helps remove the most amount of plaque.

Other things to consider. Choose a brush head with soft bristles. Size matters. Many people choose a brush head that is too large; smaller is often better as it can more easily adapt around the tooth. 

Manual or power? You can accomplish the same thing with either type. If you struggle with good plaque removal with a manual brush, then consider switching to a power brush. It will make the brushing motion for you, so all you need to do is get it in the proper place. Many have two minute timers so they can also help you brush longer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

To keep your teeth healthy and looking good, you need to brush with the right technique. In this video, dentist and Dr. Oz Show guest Jonathan B. Levine explains how the angle of the toothbrush makes a big difference.

The following technique will help you get the most thorough cleaning of your teeth. On the outer and inner surfaces, brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in short half-tooth-wide strokes against the gum line. On chewing surfaces, hold the brush flat and brush back and forth. On inside surfaces of front teeth, tilt brush vertically and use gentle up and down strokes with toe of brush. Brush the tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and freshen your mouth. Remember to spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth, adding up to two minutes each time you brush.
You should brush your teeth for at least three minutes, two times a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle.
  • Sweep the brush away from your gums.
  • Brush small sections at a time, and rinse after each section.
  • Apply gentle pressure with the brush.
  • Brush the outside of your upper teeth first, then your lower teeth.
  • Brush the inner surface of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth.
  • Finish with your front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue and inner cheeks.
  • Rinse with water. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.