Daily tooth brushing is one of the most important and effective preventive habits one can do to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth and gums.  So how does one use toothbrush to brush their teeth? It looks pretty simple, just slap on some toothpaste on your toothbrush, and scrub it all over your teeth for a minute?  That may work in some cases, but your dentist and dental hygienist may be able to show you some techniques to help improve your oral hygiene.

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One of the first things you can do is to select a proper toothbrush. There are toothbrushes in more brands, colors, sizes, and shapes out there than I can count.  In general any tooth brush with a soft head will do just fine.  Hard and medium bristles can actually cause long term wear on your teeth. Over time, dentists have found that a soft bristle is most gentle and likely best for most adults, children, and infants.

The next step would be to choose a toothpaste. Again, more toothpaste out there than I can count. Most toothpastes available today are FDA and ADA approved, and as long as it contains fluoride and has no sugar, you’re all set! A good product I like is Colgate Total. Some kids and children may prefer a bubble gum flavored toothpaste, which is acceptable, just make sure your kids don’t swallow the toothpaste to avoid excessive fluoride toxicity.

How does one exactly brush their teeth? There are many methods out there, but a popular one is to hold and angle your brush at 45 degrees, and point it toward your gum line and teeth, and brush in a circular motion. The motion and angle helps effectively remove plaque and bacteria on your teeth. Use this technique to brush the outer surfaces of the teeth against the cheek and on the inner surfaces of the teeth nearby your tongue and palate. To clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth, brush in a circular forward and backward motion, concentrating on the teeth’s little grooves and lines. I would try to allow at least a total of 2 minute each time you brush. If 2 minutes tooth brushing seem long, try brushing while watching the evening news or listening to the radio. Before you know it, you’re done!

At first, the above tooth brushing technique may seem cumbersome, but it works well and once you develop a routine, it’s pretty easy!


Electric toothbrushes have definitely gotten more popular the past few years. They mimic the motion of the hand movement, and can stimulate each brush stroke very rapidly, more so than what we are capable of. Sonic Care/Philips, Oral-B, and Crest are a few companies that have developed their own versions of the electric toothbrush. In general, most work well; if using a electric toothbrush promotes brushing, it would be well worth it to use one. Check the companies recommendations and instructions on usage.

Manual or electric toothbrushes, which is one better? Click here to find out more info.


Brushing after each meal is ideal, but in general brushing once in the morning and before bedtime is sufficient.

If you have any questions about brushing techniques and toothbrushes/toothpastes, your local Bellevue dentist is here to help. Contact us today at (425) 614-1600!

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