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As a part of good oral hygiene, brushing is the most important component. The main function of brushing lies in the removal of plaque and food debris from the tooth surfaces.

Plaque is a critical element in cavity development. Bacteria are able to adhere to the plaque and feast on sugary substances. The byproduct is an acidic environment able to demineralize hard enamel. While brushing, patients should make sure they reach every tooth to prevent missing any susceptible areas.

The time required for brushing is about 2 minutes. It is sufficient time to adequately clean all four quadrants in the mouth.

Affordable Lawrenceville Dentist, Peach Smiles explains different types of brushes available and different techniques for brushing your teeth. Please ask our dentist or Hygienist for the brushing technique for your oral health. 

Types of brushes


o   Electric toothbrushes- a charged, battery operated handle with disposable heads

o   Conventional toothbrushes- normal brushes with a handle

o   Inter dental brushes- containing pointed bristle tips attached to a handle


o   Hard, medium or soft

§  The best choice are soft bristle toothbrushes

§  Soft bristles are recommended for everyone, especially those with sensitivity and gingival recession.

§  They prevent damage to the teeth and gums

§  Hard and firm bristle can harm the enamel which can lead to more cavities


§  Toothbrushes vary in size from long heads and short circular heads

§  It depends on your mouth size and personal preference.

§  Generally, electric toothbrushes have smaller circular heads for more effective cleaning.


§  Bristle shapes are constantly changing by manufactures.

§  Some have single aligned straight bristles and others have mixed straight and diagonal bristles. Each with their own effectiveness.

§  There are some bristles that change in color to indicate it is time for a new toothbrush. 


       Horizontal reciprocating motion

o   Scrub motion

§  It is commonly used

§  Brush is placed parallel to the biting line. In a backward and forward movement, the brush moves to the back teeth and front teeth.


o   Bass (sulcular) motion

§  An effective method

§  Brush placed in a 45-degree angle to the tooth and wiggled towards the gum line and in a sweeping motion directed towards the oral cavity.

  Stillman’s technique

§  The brush bristles are placed over the gums and tooth surface near the gums.

§  In a wiggle motion the brush is moved back and forth gently.

§  For gingival recession cases

  Charters technique

§  Used when patient has some form of appliance like braces

§  Brush bristle are placed close to the interproximal (area between teeth) and in a wiggle motion moved back and forth.

  Vertical sweeping

 Rolling stroke

§  The brush bristles are placed parallel to the long axis of the tooth. In a rolling motion, the brush is guided past the interproximal area and towards the oral cavity. 

 Modified bass

§  A combination of Stillman’s, Charters, and Bass techniques

§  The bristles are placed snuggly at a 45- degree angle close to the gum line and wiggled to clean this area. The brush then moves in a sweeping motion towards the oral cavity.


  Fones technique

§  A helpful motion for children to use

§  The motion occurs in a circular manner (about 4 or 5 circles along each quadrant)

§  Start in the posterior region and rotate in a circular motion along each tooth.


Common mistakes while brushing

·         Brushing too hard

o   A common misconception about brushing is people brush vigorously thinking it will remove the plaque better and make the teeth whiter.

o   The problem lies in the fact that by brushing harder can damage the gums and lead to recession. Gums that recede will expose the root surface and increase sensitivity, as well as susceptibility to cavities.

·         Using the wrong motion

o   Many brush their teeth in a horizontal straight manner, similar to playing a violin.

o   This motion can damage the gums and leave uncleaned areas

o   Ideally, brush in a 45-degree angle starting from the gums and finishing towards the oral cavity, similar to a broom motion.

·         Avoiding brushing at night

o   Studies have shown that diseases increase when teeth are not brushed twice a day or flossed daily.

o   Cavities can develop from the bacteria that are left uncleaned throughout the day.

·         Not brushing long enough

o   Everyone has busy days, however, it is important not to shorten brushing time.

o   When you brush for two minutes, you ensure that every surface is cleaned sufficiently.

·         Using old bristle brushes

o   Not everything can last forever, especially your toothbrush.

o   When the bristles become frayed and worn out, the effectiveness of cleaning diminishes.

o   No longer will the bristles be able to engage the tooth when the brush is held in a 45-degree angle.

o   Old bristles can have come bacteria and dust that accumulate.

o   It is recommended to change your toothbrush every three months.



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