Tooth Brushing Techniques

Tooth brushing may sound like simple and easy daily task for most of us, however, our daily brushing methods may require some improvements to achieve better dental health. Throughout the years many methods and techniques have been improvised in tooth brushing. It is up to your dentist to recommend the most beneficial technique that suits your dental needs. However, as a general rule, brushing twice daily for a minimum of 3 minutes at a time is recommended. The use of a suitable mouth rinse and flossing are additional measures that should be employed on a daily basis for the best dental hygiene.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

To ensure proper brushing it is essential that your toothbrush is in a good condition. It is recommended that the toothbrush should be changed at every three months interval or as soon as it shows sign of wear. The force applied during brushing should also be controlled as vigorous brushing can harm gum tissue. The toothpaste should also be chosen individually depending on patient’s dental needs such as fluoridated, non-fluoridated or special pastes for sensitive teeth.

Brushing Patterns

Ideally brushing for three minutes, twice a day is recommended for preventing the accumulation of dental plaque. The methods of tooth brushing are roughly classified according to the pattern of brush movements as follows :

  • Horizontal technique.
  • Circular technique.
  • Vertical technique.
  • Vibratory technique.
  • Rolling technique.

Horizontal technique of brushing is by far the easiest and simplest form of tooth brushing. It is advised in very young children who are incapable of understanding the complex methods of tooth brushing. The method involves horizontal stroking of tooth brush along the tooth surface. The method is not appropriate for adults as it is inadequate for proper dental cleaning.

In children with primary (deciduous) dentition circular method of brushing such as Fone’s technique is the recommended form. The brush is placed over the tooth surface and moved in circular manner covering both upper and lower teeth. Patients with gum problems are generally advised to brush using sulcular brushing techniques.

The most commonly recommended technique is Bass method of tooth brushing. The technique involves adaptation of tip of the bristles over the gum margins at an angulation of 45 degrees to the tooth. Gentle vibratory strokes should be performed in a back and forth motion. The pressure applied should be firm enough to blanch the gums. Minimum twenty strokes are advised when the brush is covering three to four adjacent teeth. The same motion should be repeated on the palatal and tongue sides of the teeth. The grinding and cutting surfaces of the teeth should also be cleaned.

Other methods of brushing such as Charter’s technique, Stillman’s technique and modified Stillman’s method are variations of Bass method which are designed for a better plaque removal and to establish healthy gums. Brushing using an electrically-powered tooth brush is also a good alternative. Similar brushing techniques need to be employed while using a powered tooth brush.

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