Brushing and Flossing

How to Brush Your Teeth the Right Way

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There is a right way and a wrong way to brush your teeth and the wrong technique can damage them. In this video, Dr. B demonstrates the right way to brush so you protect your pearly whites.

by Dr. Burhenne

How to Brush Your Teeth the Right Way

Many people are surprised to learn that, for years, they have actually been brushing their teeth the wrong way. Watch the video below — are you brushing like Natalie Portman in this clip? If so, you run the risk of stripping enamel from your teeth and causing permanent damage.

Believe it or not, toothbrush bristles can damage to your teeth. Learn how to brush your teeth the right way and you’ll protect them for years to come.

The Wrong Way to Brush

If you’re like most people, you take your toothbrush out and use a back-and-forth motion, similar to sawing back and forth, until you feel like your teeth are clean and slippery.

And, myself included, it always feels like the faster and harder you brush, the faster you can get out of the house and on to work or school.

But the reality is that you are scrubbing away precious tooth enamel when you brush this way. This sawing motion is very abrasive to your teeth and gums, and will age your teeth prematurely.

By using this method of brushing, you also run the risk of stripping the enamel from your teeth. This will make them sensitive to hot and cold much sooner then they normally would be otherwise.

This method is not only damaging to enamel, it also doesn’t clean as effectively. Since the bristles are moving back and forth, they are essentially bouncing from one tooth to the next, missing the spaces in between the teeth.

These spaces need to be kept clean in order to prevent cavities and gum disease. When brushing with a sawing motion, none of the bristles find their way into the spaces in between your teeth to remove plaque and other tiny particles of food. You are missing the entire goal of brushing when you use this method.

How to Brush Your Teeth the Right Way

Proper brushing technique is really easy. It’s so easy that you might not feel as if you are cleaning your teeth to begin with, but that’s okay. Give it time – it’s not easy to relearn brushing after you’ve been using one method your whole life. Try putting the toothbrush in your non-dominant hand to help relearn the habit. Switching over to this simple method will take some getting used to, but the results will speak for themselves.

To begin with, place the toothbrush over your teeth and wiggle it back and forth a little bit, making sure the bristles cover each tooth and work their way around the sides of the tooth. What you are trying to do is allow the bristles of the toothbrush to find their way into the spaces between your teeth. This will ensure that all of the food particles and plaque are removed during each brushing.

Once you finish one set of teeth as described above, move your toothbrush over to the next set of teeth and repeat the same process. Jiggle the brush, gently making sure the bristles work in between your teeth. Then, move on to the next set of teeth and so forth until you have covered your entire mouth. This is the correct way to brush your teeth and doing it this way will yield noticeable results the next time you visit your dentist.

Why Proper Brushing Technique is So Important

The harder and faster you brush might feel more effective, but brushing with this hard, sawing motion actually promotes unhealthy build up between your teeth and gums. Letting particles and plaque build up over time can cause serious problems. The proper method makes sure each tooth gets the full advantage of your toothbrush bristles.

The great thing about this entire process is that it does not matter how long you have been brushing your teeth the wrong way because you can fix it today! Before you go to bed tonight, brush your teeth using the recommended method described above.

Remember: Don’t saw back-and-forth! Use a gentle wiggle motion instead and you’ll save your teeth from damage and sensitivity.

Mark Burhenne DDS

read next: Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

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