How to brush your teeth correctly

How to brush teeth

Three in ten UK adults only brush their teeth once a day, while 2% admit they don’t brush at all on a typical day.

These are the findings from a Yougov survey.

Other studies are increasingly noticing links between poor oral health and serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Brushing your teeth properly not only helps to keep your mouth healthy, it can also benefit your general health.

So what’s the best way to brush your teeth?

Choose the right toothpaste.

Adults should choose a toothpaste that contains a minimum of 1,350 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.

You may also need a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth or healthy gums.

If you’re in any doubt, ask your dentist.

Choose the right toothbrush.

Choose a brush with a head that is small enough to reach all your teeth.

Softer bristles will remove plaque and debris without being too rough on your teeth and gums.

Some people find an electric toothbrush is easier to use, but a manual brush can be just as effective if you’re brushing thoroughly and regularly.

You should aim to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles start to splay out.

Brush your teeth regularly.

It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day: Once at the end of the day, before you go to bed, and once at another point during the day.

You should aim to spend two minutes brushing each time.


How should I brush my teeth?

  1. Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth. If you’re going to clean between your teeth, it’s best to do so before brushing.
  2. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto your brush. Using too much toothpaste creates excess foam, which makes it difficult to brush for a full two minutes without spitting.
  3. Brush your teeth gently, using a circular motion.
  4. Work around your mouth, one section at a time. Aim to spend 12 to 15 seconds in each section — or 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth.
  5. Brush the top, outside and inside of each tooth.
  6. Gently brush the surface of your tongue. This removes bacteria and helps to keep your breath fresh.
  7. When you have finished brushing, spit out the excess toothpaste. The NHS recommends that you don’t rinse your mouth straight after brushing and leave some fluoride on your teeth as a preventative measure.
  8. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly. Store your toothbrush upright and uncovered. This will allow it to dry and prevent a build-up of bacteria.

When should I use mouthwash?

Avoid using mouthwash immediately after brushing, as it will wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste.

Choose a different time of day — after lunch, for example.

Avoid eating and drinking for at least 30 minutes after using mouthwash.

Further questions?

If you still have questions about brushing your teeth, just ask Dr Saigal or our hygienist.