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A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Brush Your Teeth Properly

Brushing your teeth is a routine task you’ve likely been doing since childhood. Yet, as straightforward as it may seem, many individuals do not do it correctly, undermining their oral health. This quick guide aims to demonstrate how to brush your teeth properly, ensuring you maintain a healthy, sparkling smile.

Why should you learn how to properly brush your teeth?

Correct tooth brushing is not merely about preserving your pearly whites and flashing a beautiful smile — it’s about safeguarding your overall health, too. When we neglect to brush our teeth thoroughly, we expose ourselves to many dental problems, such as gum diseases, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Moreover, a healthy mouth can prevent serious health problems such as heart attacks, stroke and diabetes.

But how do you know if you’re doing it correctly? What does it mean to brush your teeth properly? The answer is more nuanced than you might think. This guide is here to enlighten you on how to brush your teeth effectively, and even how to encourage children to adopt good brushing habits.

When and how often should you brush?

Just as critical as knowing how to brush your teeth properly is knowing when and how often to do so. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends doing so at least twice a day. This frequency helps combat the accumulation of plaque and bacteria that can lead to dental diseases.

In addition to brushing twice a day, doing it after meals is beneficial, especially if you’ve consumed acidic, sugary or sticky foods. However, it’s important to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing to avoid damaging the enamel that acidic foods might have softened.

How to brush your teeth — step by step

  • Prepare your toothbrush — Begin by wetting your toothbrush with water to lubricate the bristles.
  • Apply toothpaste — Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the bristles of your toothbrush.
  • Position your toothbrush — Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Start brushing — Using short, gentle circles, start brushing your teeth. The movement should be tooth-wide and cover two to three teeth at a time.
  • Brush all surfaces — Brush the teeth’s outer, inner and chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to cover the back molars and the surface of your tongue to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath. Be mindful and thorough here.
  • Divide and conquer — Remember, your mouth can be divided into four sections or quadrants. Spend approximately 30 seconds brushing each quadrant. An effective clean takes time, so ensure to brush for a full two minutes.
  • Be gentle — Don’t apply too much pressure while brushing. This can harm your teeth and cause the bristles on your toothbrush to wear out prematurely.
  • Do not rinse — Contrary to popular belief, the ADA emphasises how you should not rinse your mouth immediately after brushing. This is because the fluoride in the toothpaste continues to protect your teeth after you finish. When you rinse with water, you dilute and wash away this protective layer. To get the full benefits, simply spit out the excess toothpaste and resist the urge to rinse. This might take time getting used to, especially if you’ve been rinsing your whole life. But rinse your toothbrush, though, to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris.

How to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush

Switching to an electric toothbrush doesn’t change the fundamental steps of brushing, but there are some nuances to note:

  • Instead of moving the brush back and forth, let the electric brush do the work — simply guide it along your teeth and gums.
  • Built-in timers can help ensure you’re brushing for the recommended two minutes.
  • Remember to avoid using excessive pressure to prevent damaging your teeth and gums. Some electric toothbrushes have a built-in pressure sensor that can help guide you to apply the correct amount.

How to brush your kids’ teeth in a way they’ll enjoy

Brushing your teeth doesn’t have to be a chore — it can be fun, especially for children. When teaching kids how to brush their teeth, the key is to make it engaging and entertaining. Here are a few tips:

  • Play a song — Find a fun, catchy two-minute song your child enjoys and play it during their brushing time. This will make the process more enjoyable and ensure they brush for the recommended time.
  • Brush together — Children often mimic their parent’s behaviour. By brushing your teeth together, you’ll not only create a bonding opportunity but also give them a model to follow.
  • Use a timer — Make brushing a game by using a timer. Challenge your child to brush until the timer goes off. This ensures they brush for the correct amount of time and adds an element of fun.
  • Storytelling — Make up stories about “sugar bugs” that the child needs to “fight off” by brushing, or something along the same theme. This adds another element of fun and imagination to the routine.
  • Give out rewards — Reward consistent brushing with praise or a small, non-monetary incentive like an extra bedtime story or a longer playtime.

Teaching children how to properly brush their teeth is crucial from an early age. It sets the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health habits.

A final note on how to brush your teeth

To restate, knowing how to properly brush your teeth is essential to maintaining your overall health, and one must understand the correct techniques. Remember, a little attention to detail can go a long way in preserving that beautiful smile. Start practising these tips today and instil these habits in your children’s routines. Your future self — and your dentist — will thank you!

Take your oral health to the next level

While regular brushing is essential, it’s only one part of maintaining excellent oral health. If it’s been a while since your last dental check-up, consider scheduling a professional deep clean and scale with No Gaps Dental — Sydney’s original No Gaps dentist. This procedure complements your daily brushing and flossing routine, removing plaque and tartar buildup in areas your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

No Gaps Dental collaborates with all Australian health insurers, accepting their benefits as full payment for basic dental procedures — potentially giving you access to over $200 of free treatments annually. Our team can not only treat dental issues but also prevent them as well. No Gap’s preventive dentistry examinations can identify potential problems before they escalate, ensuring your oral health is always at its best.

Call our clinic at (02) 8007 6727 to book your appointment for a deep clean and scale today.


Should you rinse after brushing your teeth?

Yes, but you should rinse after waiting for a bit. Once you rinse, you wash away a  protective layer of fluoride from the toothpaste that continues to work on your teeth even after brushing.

How long should you brush your teeth?

The recommended brushing time is two minutes. This allows enough time to thoroughly clean all tooth surfaces and helps ensure optimal oral hygiene.

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