Healthy teeth and gums are a very important part of your heath overall. You have likely been told from a young age to brush and floss regularly to keep them clean and in good condition. You have also probably been taught how to properly brush your teeth. However, there is more to taking care of your oral health than just those two tasks. People tend to neglect their teeth and assume that they are healthy enough because they are not in any pain, often that is not the case. Most people strive for nice pearly whites for cosmetic reasons but fail to see the importance of those healthy aspects that can link to your heart health.

This article will give you tips on how to properly brush your teeth so that you can not only make sure your teeth look good, but that they are healthy too.

applying tooth paste to toothbrush

1. The Basics: Brushing

From an early age we are given a toothbrush and some basic knowledge on how to brush. Still, over time it becomes routine and we stop thinking about what we are doing. Even in adulthood we make mistakes. Here is a general guide to how to properly brush your teeth:

Proper Brushing

  • Place a pea sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste onto the bristles of your brush
  • Gently brush using a circular motion up and down over the outer surfaces to get the bristles to work their way into crevices and between teeth to reach any particles of food and break up plaque. Make sure you get all the way down to the gum line.
  • Use a slightly harder sawing motion over the chewing surfaces

2. Choosing the Right Brush

Your toothbrush is your sword against plaque. Thus, choosing a proper one is actually very important. With so many brushes to choose from, you may just grab what you find there on the store shelf. So, which is the best tool for the job? Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you are perusing the dental aisle in search of a new brush:

  • The brush: Soft bristles are always the best choice because they have the ability to reach under the gum line and can bend to get farther between teeth. Harder bristles can actually cause wear on your enamel. So pick whichever brush strikes your fancy, manual or electric, but remember to stick to soft bristles.
  • Head size: If you have a smaller mouth, get a brush with a smaller head. A brush head that is too large for your mouth makes it hard to navigate and get into certain areas like near the back of your jaw.
  • Look for the American Dental Association seal of approval: Who else could point you in the right direction better in this matter other than the ADA?

3. Mistakes We Make

Here is a list of common mistakes most people make while brushing. This can happen just because we are used to the routine and no longer really pay attention to what we are doing anymore. Or, you may never have been taught that something is being done incorrectly. Being aware of what you are doing wrong gives you an opportunity to adjust your brushing and learn how to properly brush your teeth.

Power Brushers

When you brush your teeth, harder is not better. You may think you need vigorous brushing to get that plaque out of there, but it is much better to massage than scrub. This is because rough brushing can cause bleeding and wear your tooth enamel. Also, plaque is actually soft and loose so a gentler brushing can lift it off your teeth to be spit out.

Speedy Brushing

You should be brushing for at least 2 minutes at each session. Most of us think we have brushed long enough when in fact we are not making that two minute mark. Set a timer or listen to a song while you brush to ensure you spend enough time brushing.

Brush Lover

Sometimes we find that perfect brush and have a hard time letting it go. Bristles become worn, discolored, and frayed over time making them lose their effectiveness. Replace a brush every three months- no matter how much you love it.


Upright in the open air is best. This stops bacterial and mold growth that is encouraged if a brush is kept in a container or closed off.

Tongue and Gum

These two areas are most often forgotten. Food can get into your gum line so a gentle massage at a 45-degree angle with your brush is necessary. Your tongue can harbor bacteria in its carpet-like surface. This will keep bad breath at bay and your mouth clean.

Brushing too Soon

Some people run straight to the bathroom to brush after a meal. Dentists suggest that you wait at least 20 minutes to do so. This is because you have just introduced acids into your mouth and the last thing you want is to cause damage by adding an abrasive substance and scrubbing your enamel.

4. Routine Checkups

Your dentist has tools to be sure your oral health is where it needs to be. X-rays can help them keep an eye out for issues you cannot see above the surface, and things like sealants or other methods available to them can help with prevention. They can also give you suggestions on how to properly brush your teeth and answer and questions or concerns you may have. Plus, nothing feels better than a dentist cleaning and some peace of mind.


Many people do not realize the impact of their dental health on their health in general. Proper cleaning techniques and paying attention to how to properly brush your teeth will help ensure you are getting rid of problem causing plaque. Regular visits can give you added preventative protection and a dental professional’s assistance for any questions or problems you may be experiencing.

How has dental health impacted other areas of your life? Is there something you realize you tend to forget? Leave any comments for discussion below.