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Toothbrushing - You're Doing it All Wrong!

Toothbrushing – You’re Doing it All Wrong!

the science of smilesEvery so often we like to go back to the basics with our patients and give them a proper lesson on tooth brushing. We do this when we see signs of gum recession, pockets of plaque, and evidence that our patients are brushing too hard.

Unfortunately, so many people grip their toothbrushes too tightly. They’ll hold it with 4 or 5 fingers, in a white-knuckle grip – and brush for a couple minutes. But little do they know, harder isn’t always better.

More: Tooth brushing Tips to Keep Clean

The Correct Way to Hold Your Toothbrush

The correct way to hold your toothbrush is between 2-3 fingers, like a pencil.

Think about it for a moment.

If you brush hard, or try to “really get in there,”  the sides of the bristles “fall” and fail to reach everywhere they should. Sticky plaque is thus left untouched, putting you at risk for bad breath and tooth decay.

More: Are Power Toothbrushes Harming Your Teeth?

A Lighter Hand Goes a Long Way

 Every time you brush your teeth, use a lighter hand! Help your brush access the spaces between your teeth around the periodontal pocket, and the groove beside the back teeth—those are the secret places where plaque hides. All you need to do is wiggle your toothbrush in short, gentle motions.

There are other problems with using strong brushing force. It can put you at risk of wearing away enamel or irritating your gums. Over time, your wrist can get accustomed to the rigid motion and become unable to position the toothbrush on the right spot in a subtle motion.

Step-by-Step Guide to Tooth brushing

More: Introducing the World’s First AI Toothbrush

Here is a standard guide to brushing your teeth correctly:

  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums all the way around.
  • For the inner surfaces, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle from the teeth at the back of the mouth up to the “eye teeth” (also known as the cuspids or canines).
  • To brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth, hold the toothbrush vertically and brush up and down with the tip of the brush from the gum line to the ends of the teeth.
  • After all tooth surfaces have been brushed, lightly brush the tongue (back and front) and then rinse with warm water.

Also check out this simple info-graphic created by the American Dental Association (ADA) to learn the right brushing technique.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding, sleep apnea, and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.