Brushing has long been established as an effective way to clean teeth and prevent cavities. Here’s how to do it correctly:

  1. Imagine that your mouth is divided into four equal sections. Each section has an inside and an outside surface, making eight surfaces in total. Brush one of these eight surfaces at a time (the order doesn’t matter) until you’ve covered all of them.
  2. The back teeth are hardest to reach and the most often neglected. So, when you’re brushing each surface, start in the back and work forward. You will find it easier to reach the outside surfaces if you open your mouth only slightly.
  3. Hold the brush horizontally and place the bristles on one side of the teeth, close to the gumline. They will cover about three teeth at a time. Tilt the brush so that the bristles form an angle of about 45 degrees with the teeth. Exert enough pressure so that the bristles splay out slightly, and penetrate the groove, or sulcus, at the gumline.
  4. Brush back and forth horizontally with very short strokes—no wider than a quarter of an inch or so. Continue for ten seconds.
  5. Move the brush to the next group of teeth and repeat the process. Continue until all surfaces of all four sections have been brushed.
  6. If the chewing surfaces of the back teeth haven’t been thoroughly brushed along with the inside and outside surfaces, brush them, too.
  7. Brushing the top surface of the tongue and lightly around your gums can refresh your mouth and reduce bad breath.
  8. After brushing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

We recommend that patients brush with a wet toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. You can also find specialized toothpastes for a variety of different conditions, such as for whitening, patients with gum disease, sensitive teeth and for those especially susceptible to decay. There are even high-content fluoride and desensitizing toothpastes available by prescription from your dentist.

If you’re using an electric toothbrush, techniques may vary depending on the manufacturer, so please refer to the instructions.

Here at the Dental Partners of 5th Avenue, we do our best as family dentists of NYC to keep our patients informed on their daily dental care!