Education | Brushing

Proper Brushing Method

Use a soft brush toothbrush with a small head unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Porterfield. The bristles of a soft toothbrush are hard enough to remove plague, yet gentle enough not to damage your teeth or gums.

Dr. Porterfield does not generally recommend any specific toothpaste brand unless you have a specific condition you have previously discussed with her. Find a toothpaste brand or flavor you prefer and put a very small amount on the head of the toothbrush. The amount of toothpaste used should be close to that of a small pea and should never cover the entire toothbrush head as frequently seen in toothpaste advertisments. The amount of toothpaste used in these advertisements will reduce the effectiveness of your brushing.

Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums and move the brush back and forth gently in short, tooth-wide, strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces closest to your cheek, the inner tooth surfaces closest to your tongue, and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Using the bristles of the brush, clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using gentle up-and-down strokes. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. You may also use a tongue scraper either given to you by Dr. Porterfield or purchased from a local retailer.

It should take you at least two to three minutes to brush your teeth, preferably around four minutes. Dr. Porterfield recommends not standing in front of a mirror to brush your teeth. You are more likely to brush the recommended time if you walk around or listen to a song and brush the length of a song than if you stand at the mirror.

Ideally you want to brush your teeth after every meal but if you can’t, brush at least twice a day – after breakfast and before going to bed. With proper brushing technique your toothbrush should last around three months, then it’s time to get a new one. It is also recommended to replace your toothbrush after recovering from a contagious illness.