How to brush your teeth

Brushing removes plaque and food particles from the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of your teeth. Several different methods are acceptable. One effective method for removing plaque is illustrated below:

  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (half-a-tooth-wide strokes).
  • Brush the inner, then outer, and finally the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Use the “toe” of the brush to reach the inner front tooth surfaces.
  • Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath.

Tips on toothbrush selection

Any toothbrush or oral hygiene device should be ADA accepted. Look for the sign of acceptance on all products. Be sure to brush thoroughly with ADA accepted and approved fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, more often if your dentist recommends it. If you notice any repeated discomfort after brushing, consult your dentist.

Your dentist or hygienist can recommend a good ADA accepted toothbrush or oral hygiene device. For general use, select a brush with soft end-rounded or polished bristles. The size and shape of your toothbrush should allow you to reach every tooth. Children need to use smaller brushes than adults do.

Worn-out toothbrushes cannot properly clean your teeth and may injure your gums. It is important to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner, if the bristles become worn.

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