What are the 5 steps to brushing your teeth?

Personal dental care involves regular flossing and brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. With flossing, you only need to use the strips once a day before discarding them. Brushing diligently twice a day using the appropriate number of steps can also help to reduce the accumulation of plaque on your teeth.

This will naturally wear off your toothbrush, though it should still be of good service for three to four months before replacing it to maintain optimal oral hygiene

What are the 5 steps to brushing your teeth

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The concept of brushing teeth has been around for thousands of years, long before the invention of the first toothbrush in 1938. Back then, people were using sticks, bones, and even hog bristles to keep their teeth clean and healthy, but now you have a range of toothbrushes to choose from, and some well documented steps on the best process to maintain a bright smile and healthy mouth.

1: Choosing a toothbrush

  • Get a toothbrush with the ADA seal – Toothbrushes displaying the seal from the American Dental Association have soft bristles and sturdy handles that make them very effective at accomplishing your brushing goals.
  • If you have to choose another brush, pick one with soft nylon bristles and rounded heads instead of one with medium or hard bristles.
  • Rounded bristles are healthier compared to protruding bristles (designed to clean between teeth and around appliances). This is because the former can easily reach the sides and back of your molars for thorough cleaning, whereas protruding bristles may injure your gums, increasing the risk of inflammation and infections.

Proper brushing technique

Proper brushing technique is important because it removes remaining food particles and plaque, helps to remove unsightly stains and potentially harmful substances like sugar from soda or acid from citrus juice, and stimulates blood flow in the gums to reduce any inflammation and maintain their health.

2: 10 Steps on how to brush your teeth with toothpaste

The American Dental Association (ADA) has established guidelines for proper brushing. To get the most from your at-home dental cleaning routine, you should follow these steps:

  • Use a brush that comfortably fits in your palm, with a head that is small enough to maneuver to all teeth surfaces
  • Put a tiny amount of your fluoride toothpaste — about the size of a pea — at the center of your toothbrush head
  • Brush with a light touch – using excessive force can damage your teeth and gums
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums – the ideal position to reach all areas
  • Brush in a circular motion – as opposed to back-and-forth – to effectively move plaque away from the gums
  • Brush for a minimum of two minutes – studies suggest that this is the minimum amount of time required for thorough cleaning
  • Brush at least twice a day – one of those times should be just before going to bed
  • Know the right time to get a new toothbrush. You should replace your toothbrush head after every three months and after illness or dental treatment. This is because worn out bristles harbor bacteria, and can irritate gum tissue.
  • With regard to an electric versus a manual toothbrush, none is necessarily better than the other. It is matter of preference – electrics are fun for children, while manuals are cost effective.
  • Never share your toothbrush.
  • Clean it well after use with warm water, and then store it in an upright position so it can dry in open air.

3: 10 steps on how to brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes typically come with a two-minute timer that will help to ensure that you are brushing for the recommended amount of time. Even timers that chime every 30 seconds are included in certain models to remind you to move on to the next area of your mouth.

You may divide your mouth into four areas for thorough brushing as follows: your front teeth; back teeth; all biting surfaces and the area behind your back teeth; and the tongue and roof of the mouth.

When brushing your teeth, and especially when using an electric toothbrush, you shouldn’t apply intense pressure. Instead, let the brush scour while you gently move it along. Some electric toothbrush models are equipped with pressure sensors that will alert you if you apply too much pressure.

These are the common steps when using an electric toothbrush:

  • Make sure your electric toothbrush is charged before you start brushing.
  • Before you start brushing your teeth, floss them. This makes it simpler for your toothbrush to remove any plaque or food fragments that are stuck between your teeth by helping to loosen them.
  • Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle when you start brushing, just like you would with a manual toothbrush.
  • Start by brushing the outside of your teeth, then move the brush head slowly and gently from tooth to tooth.
  • Your electric toothbrush should brush one tooth at a time, depending on the size of your teeth and the brush head size.
  • Brushing should be done slowly so you can make sure you are being thorough.
  • Before moving on to the next tooth, be careful to hold the brush head firmly against the previous one for a few seconds.
  • Be sure to brush each tooth in accordance with its shape and the how your gums contour.
  • Repeat your movements after finishing the outside surfaces of your teeth, the inner surfaces, and then once more on the chewing surfaces.
  • Remember to brush the gum area beyond your back teeth.
  • Take a few extra seconds after brushing your teeth to run the brush head down your gum line and on your gums. Any leftover plaque will be removed by doing this. When brushing your gums, be careful not to press too firmly as this could irritate them.
  • Finally, carefully clean your tongue and the roof of your mouth with your brush to freshen your breath and remove any leftover food particles.

4: 10 Steps on how to brush your teeth properly with braces

Brushing your teeth while wearing braces is can be a challenge at first. But once you get used to the procedure, it becomes quite easy. Below is a step by step guide for brushing with braces:

  • Rinse your mouth with water before brushing to help release any food that may be stuck around your braces.
  • Start by flossing your teeth around the braces using a floss threader.
  • Use a special brush made for braces as instructed by your orthodontist
  • Use a CDA approved fluoridated toothpaste
  • Begin brushing at the gumline at a 45-degree angle
  • Then, position the toothbrush on top of the brackets and angle it downward to brush each bracket.
  • Adjust your position and angle the toothbrush up to gently brush the wire and the bottom of the bracket.
  • Clean every tooth at the gumline, above, and below the brackets.
  • Children might still need assistance until they are confident holding the toothbrush at the right angle and have mastered brushing their teeth while wearing braces.

To help remove food particles in hard-to-reach areas, consider using water irrigators. Using mouthwash will also help to remove bacteria after brushing to help avoid cavities.

Final thoughts

Effective tooth brushing is a crucial component of any oral hygiene regimen and aids in removing plaque, preventing gingivitis and other gum diseases, and maintaining healthy gums. This work can be made simpler with electric toothbrushes, though a manual toothbrush will also get the work done.



  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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