Knowledge of proper brushing techniques is very important for your oral health. As a dentist, I recognize various tooth brushing techniques such as Bass, Modified Bass, Charters, Modified Charters and Stillmann Techniques. But I do not want to confuse you by explaining all of the methods separately.
What I will be discussing today, will be a concoction of all the techniques. This will make tooth brushing easier to understand and effortless to do. Afterall, it is a procedure that you are supposed to be doing twice a day.
1. Place the bristles of your toothbrush at an angle of 45o . Let half of the bristles lie on your gingival margin (gums) and the rest half on your teeth. Bring the brush towards the incisal margin of your teeth using gentle, short vertical strokes. That means the brush should be moved away from your gums starting at an angle. This stroke helps in clearing the gingival sulcus ( space between your teeth and gums) as well clean the front surfaces of your teeth.
This should be done segment by segment on the front surfaces of the entire upper arch. It should be carried out in the same way for the lower arch, starting from the gums towards the biting edges of the teeth.
The same should be done for the inner sides of your posterior teeth, biting or back teeth.
2. The inner surfaces of your anterior teeth should be cleaned in almost the same manner as above, with little modification. Use your brush in the vertical direction, i.e., use the tip of your brush. The inclination, motion and direction are the same as discussed above.
3. The occlusal or chewing surfaces of teeth should be brushed in short horizontal strokes.
4. Another motion which is helpful is the circular motion. Use short circular motions on your teeth, while keeping jaws closed.
5. Never forget to clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner or the brush itself.
Use the above steps with gentle wrist moving motions. This, accompanied with floss and mouth wash will improve your oral health. Make sure to change your brush when the bristles are worn or every 3 months, which ever comes first. A brush with soft to medium bristles will do. The harder the brush, the more wear due to brushing is imposed on your teeth.
This method ensures proper cleansing and removal of plaque, It also prevents tooth abrasion (cuts in teeth towards the gum line) due to improper brushing. The horizontal strokes, which are prevalently used, should be limited. These strokes can wash our teeth away!
Never forget that every 6-month visit to your dentist. Proper brushing and awareness of oral health will help your teeth to last longer and stronger!