It’s something we do everyday (hopefully), and have been doing confidently from a young age. It’s a routine that we’re all accustomed to, yet rarely think twice about. Yes, it’s brushing your teeth.
It seems like such a simple, mundane task, yet it’s something that a lot of people do wrong. Likely because it’s not something that we’re accustomed to thinking about. Like tying your shoelaces—you figure out how to do it at a young age, and that’s that. You’re not comparing how you tie your laces to how your friends tie their laces. You all seemed to figure it out and there’s no need to change your ways. Unless of course instead of laces we’re talking about teeth. And instead of doing it the “proper way,” you’ve been picking up some bad brushing habits.
Dramatic? Sure. But you get the point.
In this post we’ll be covering how to brush your teeth (and how not to). We also go over some small differences between brushing with an electric vs brushing with a standard toothbrush. So, buckle up and get ready to learn that you’ve been brushing your teeth the wrong way all along.
Let’s start with the bad teeth brushing behaviours first.
How Not to Brush Your Teeth
Brushing Mistake #1: You’re Brushing Too Hard
We’re starting with the most common one. When it comes to brushing your pearly whites (and gums), you need to be gentle. Scrubbing harder does not necessarily mean you’re getting a better clean. As long as you’re brushing 2x a day, your plaque should be loose and easy to remove.
So, how hard should you brush your teeth? Think of it more like a teeth “massage” and gently move the brush around. You should have enough pressure to where the bristles are able to get in between and around your teeth, but not so hard that your toothbrush looks like it was run over by a car after a few months. You know who you are.
Brushing Mistake #2: You’re Not Using the Right Brush
Alright, don’t put all of the bad brushing onus on yourself—sometimes it can actually be your brush (or your bad choice in brushes)!
For example, you really don’t want to use a brush with super hard bristles. Bristles need to be soft in order to bend and move around your teeth, not stab you in the gums. You also need to consider your toothbrush head size and shape. Though it may seem more nimble to have a small brush head, unless you’ve got a small mouth, a medium-large brush head is best.
And then of course, you need to consider if an electric toothbrush will get you a better clean than a manual. Hint: it usually does. You can learn all about the pros and cons between manual vs electric brushes here.
Brushing Mistake #3: You’re Not Brushing Long Enough
If you could guess, how long do you think you should brush your teeth for? Or, how long should you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush for?
The answer is 2 minutes for an electric toothbrush, and around 3 minutes for a manual. The difference is due to the fact that an electric brush simply moves a lot faster than our human hands can.
Can you brush your teeth too much? Yes, you can. Make sure not to overbrush! So, set that timer and keep brushing until you hit 2-3 minutes. If you’re using Brüush electric toothbrush, then you won’t have to worry. It’s got a built in timer that reminds you to move the brush around every 30 seconds.
Brushing Mistake #4: You Forget To Brush Your Gum Line and Tongue
To get the best mouth clean, you should also be brushing just under your gums. This allows you to clean the whole tooth and brush away any lingering bacteria in that area. If you’re going to brush your actual gums, do so in a downwards motion to reduce your risk of receding gums.
On this note, also remember to brush the inside facing side of your teeth as well. People often neglect this area as it’s not as visible to other people.
And then of course, regular tongue brushing is a great habit. Your tongue is a nice cozy home for bacteria, so it’s important to clean it regularly. You can also use a tongue scraper for this, but a brush does a good enough job.
Brushing Mistake #5: Your Brushing Technique is all Wrong
There is in fact a right way to brush. If you’re using a manual, brush your teeth in little circular motions, moving from tooth to the other. Just don’t push up as this can damage your gums. Be gentle.
If you're using a good quality electric toothbrush, you can rest assured that it’ll be doing the majority of the work for you. You just need to move the brush around your teeth (all sides, bottom and top), while it goes to town! Again pressure should be lightly applied—don’t squish it against your pearly whites.
Brushing Mistake #6: Your Toothbrush is OLD
Not only can using an old toothbrush reduce your brushing efficacy, but it can also become a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Ew. Plus, the bristles can become less “nimble” over time with extended use.
Doctors recommend changing out your toothbrush or electric brush head every 3 months. Keep your brush fresh, keep your teeth fresh!
Brushing Mistake #7: You’re Not Brushing Enough
Whether you’re a before or after breakfast brusher, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re brushing 2x per day. Once in the morning, once in the evening.
This one is simple, but you need to stick to it. Plaque will naturally build up on your teeth, even while you’re sleeping, so you need to keep to a solid brushing schedule.
How to Brush Your Teeth to Get the Ultimate Clean
Alright, so now that you know what not to do (and how to fix those bad habits), let’s go through how to brush your teeth.
To get that fresh-from-the-dentist clean, here’s what you need:
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Electric/standard toothbrush
- Mouthwash (optional, but nice)
From here, follow the below steps to start brushing your teeth in a way that will make your dentist proud.
- Floss your teeth. It’s best to start with flossing, as you’re likely to bring up small food particles and plaque that was stuck between your teeth.
- Get your toothbrush head wet. Run it under the water or dip it in a glass—whatever your style, just make sure to wet it first.
- Use a small amount of toothpaste. A little goes a long way, so you should be good to go with about 2 pea sized amounts.
- Set your timer! You need to brush those teeth for 2 whole minutes, or around 3 minutes for a manual toothbrush.
- Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Move from one quadrant to the next after every 30 seconds until you’ve done all 4 top and bottom areas of your teeth.
- Brush your tongue. Before you put that toothbrush away, get a good scrub done on your tongue.
- Lastly, rinse. You can use either water or mouthwash for this step. Mouthwash will give you a fresher feeling and help to kill any bad bacteria, while water just helps to rinse away any residual toothpaste and bits.
And we can’t finish this article without mentioning the best way to brush your teeth and get that fresh-from-the-dentist-clean.
The Brüush electric toothbrush was designed with dentists (so you know it’s good). It’s got built in sonic technology, 6 cleaning modes, 4-week battery life, extra-soft bristles, and a 2-minute timer. Everything you need to invest in better oral health.
Now, Show off Those Teeth!
By now you should know how to properly brush your teeth. It’s not rocket science, but it does take focus. If you’re currently suffering from chronic bad breath, or teeth that lack brightness, it’s likely that you’ve been brushing your teeth wrong (or not enough).
So, create those healthy habits.
Follow a solid brushing routine.
Start seeing results.
And remember, all smiles are beautiful. So show off those sparkly clean teeth and keep doing you.