How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

You’ve been doing it ever since you were knee high to grasshopper, so you think you know how to brush your teeth – but our oral hygienists and Richmond dentists often have to give adults a gentle reminder about how to brush their teeth.

It all starts with the right toothbrush


A workman is only as good as his tools, and your teeth are only as clean as you can get them with the toothbrush you’ve currently got. Is it right for you? Here’s how to know:

  • Sore gums after brushing mean that your bristles are probably too hard. But the very softest brushes may not do a good job. On the whole, soft to medium-hard bristles suit most people.
  • Big toothbrushes may seem to save time, but are they getting into every nook and cranny? A smaller brush is easier to manoeuvre around your mouth.
  • Sorry! All-natural toothbrushes aren’t the way to go. Synthetic bristles do a better job. There are reasons why all natural toothbrushes went out of style, and proper oral hygiene is one of them.
  • How old is your toothbrush? It should be replaced frequently so that bristles retain their springiness.

Plan of attack!

Be systematic. Start on one side and work your way around. For example, you can work on the front surfaces of your upper, then lower teeth, moving to the upper surfaces of molars before getting to the back of your teeth. Small, circular strokes are right for the front and back of your teeth, but up and down strokes work best for the upper surfaces of your molars.

Most people neglect the back surfaces of their teeth, so be sure you open wide and take good care of those too.

Take your time!

A rapid, vigorous scrub is better than nothing, but it’s also not the right way to take care of your teeth. You could even damage them if you attack them hammer and tongs. Take your time. Three minutes should be enough to give all your teeth a thorough cleaning. The area where your teeth meet your gums is another neglected spot. If it’s uncomfortable brushing there, your brush is either to stiff, or you’re giving it too much elbow grease. Be gentle!

Brush your tongue

An awful lot of people don’t brush their tongues, but by doing so, you’ll keep your breath fresher and your teeth healthier too. As you can imagine, it’s not a task to tackle with all guns blazing. Take the gentle approach and be kind to yourself.


Ok – that’s not strictly ‘brushing’, but getting your teeth as clean as can be is a task that isn’t complete until you’ve flossed. There are places between your teeth where a brush just can’t reach. Floss gets there.

See an oral hygienist

An oral hygienist can demonstrate all the odds and ends involved in brushing your teeth using a mouth form. It’s a great way to get your kids off to the right start with tooth brushing – and you may want to take a look-in at the process too.

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