It takes at least two minutes to properly brush; that's right, 120 seconds! The majority of adults are not even close to brushing for that long. That’s why we recommend trying to use a stopwatch to get a feel for the time involved. It’s also important to use quick, gentle strokes to properly brush your teeth, paying particular attention to the gum-line, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns, or other restorations.
At Sonisk, we have pulled together a guide on what you need in order to brush your teeth along with a step by step by step guide on how to brush your teeth for adults, teenagers and children.
What you need to brush your teeth
Making sure you're equipped with the right tools is the first step to brushing properly. You're going to need:
Your toothbrush or toothbrush head should be replaced every 3 to 4 months. If your toothbrush has been overused, the bristles can become frayed and brushing loses some of its efficacy.
Toothpastes containing fluoride help prevent cavities in both children and adults. To help strengthen weak spots and exposed roots, and to help prevent the early stages of tooth decay, brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste.
You should floss at least once a day, the best time being right before you go to bed to remove any food and plaque from between the teeth and along the gum-line. Flossing should be done with waxed floss, as it won't shred between the teeth.
Another way to help protect you and your family from tooth decay is to rinse your mouth with mouthwash that contains fluoride. There are many mouthwash brands available that now contain fluoride.
How to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush
Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush head is slightly different since the brush head rotates or vibrates with sonic pulses on its own.
- Rinse your toothbrush under a bit of water, then add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on top.
- Turn your electric toothbrush on, and start at the back bottom row of your teeth, holding the head at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line.
- Move methodically, one tooth at a time, applying light pressure, buffing each tooth with the revolving vibrating brush head.
- Switch to the back top row of your teeth and repeat, cleaning and polishing one tooth at a time.
- Use the electric brush head to clean your tongue, moving it slowly across your tongue’s surface.
- Spit out the remnants of toothpaste, saliva, and water into a clean sink. Finish by rinsing your mouth with cold water.
How to brush your teeth with braces
Brushing your teeth with braces is pretty straightforward, but it does take a couple of extra steps.
- Start by removing any rubber bands or removable parts of your braces. Before reapplying these to your braces, they should be rinsed.
- With a little bit of water and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, get your toothbrush ready.
- Carefully clean, even under the wires and pins, around your braces.
- Brush the real wires of your braces so that they are free of any food particles that may cause the accumulation of plaque or bacteria.
- Switch from one side of your mouth to the other and spend at least 2 minutes brushing.
- Gently brush your tongue.
- Spit out any remaining toothpaste and saliva. Rinse your mouth with water and check the mirror to make sure your braces have been fully cleaned.
How to brush your children’s teeth
Note that fluoride-free toothpaste or a much smaller quantity of fluoride toothpaste can be used by children under the age of 3 than by an older child or adult. When they emerge from the gum line, a baby's teeth will begin to decay, so be vigilant in teaching them healthy dental habits.
- Using a smooth, child-sized toothbrush, water and a tiny smear of rice grain (if below three) or pea-sized toothpaste (if above three).
- Brush your child's backs, fronts, and sides of their teeth slowly. Clean the gums where the teeth have not popped out yet, too.
- Make sure to brush your child’s tongue. Have them practising spitting out their toothpaste and rinsing their teeth.