How To Brush

The object of brushing is to remove plaque from the tooth surface and from under the edge of the gum, on the inside and outside of the tooth. It is important to remember that periodontal disease starts under the gum edge, and placing the bristles in the sulcus is important when brushing. Also remember that brushing cannot access plaque that forms under the gum's edge between the teeth, and flossing is needed to complete that important step of oral hygiene.


Toothbrush at 45 degree angle to tooth, allowing bristles to slide between the tooth and gum, to clean plaque hidden in the sulcus.

To brush, angle the bristles of the brush at 45 degrees to the side of the tooth. This allows the bristles to slide under the edge of the gum, reaching the hidden plaque. Think of sliding broom bristles under the edge of a refrigerator to remove dirt. The brush should not be scrubbed back and forth, but rather shimmied or rotated in small circular motions. This allows the bristles to remain under the gum's edge, and also prevents wearing the gum.


Brushing the inside of the upper back teeth. Angle the bristles at 45 degrees and make a jiggling motion.

Brushing the outside of the upper back teeth. Do not scrub.
 

Brushing the inside of the lower back teeth.

Brushing the outside of the lower back teeth.
 

Brushing the outside of the upper front teeth.

Brushing the outside of the lower front teeth.
 

When all the teeth have been brushed under the edge of the gum, the top surfaces can be brushed. Brush the cheeks and tongue as well, for plaque forms throughout the mouth. Remember that brushing does not clean between the teeth, and flossing is needed to complete your daily oral hygiene.

See How to Floss.