Learn how to brush your teeth

Dossier : Good daily habits

brushing teeth

While you are advised to brush your teeth twice a day and to change your toothbrush 4 times a year, many of us do not follow these recommendations. Focus on good daily habits. 



Simple steps to proper use of your Toothbrush for a cleaner fresher healthier mouth:

Use a good toothbrush. Your toothbrush should have SOFT nylon bristles and a small head. Soft bristles are gentler on your gums and will flex more easily to reach between the teeth while a small head allows you to reach all areas of your mouth. 

Replace your toothbrush regularly. You probably need a new one every 3 – 6 months or as soon as the bristles become distorted and misshapen. 

Wet your toothbrush slightly, and then squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush.
Your toothpaste should always contain fluoride.
If you have sensitive teeth then there are several very good products specially formulated to help control this sensitivity.

Try to concentrate on one tooth at a time. As you go around your mouth, try to focus on each tooth for a few seconds. When that's done, move on to the next one. Also, wiggle the bristles onto and along the gum line. This is extremely important, as gum disease starts here at the gum margin. Brush gently to avoid damaging your gums. But be gentle, pressing harder does more damage than good.

Start with the front of your teeth. Hold the brush so that it's parallel to your lips, then tilt it upward by about 45 degrees. Start with your top front teeth, and work around each side of your mouth in a back-and-forth-circular motion, brushing the outer side of each top tooth. Move to the bottom row of teeth, and tilt the toothbrush down by about 45 degrees. Work around each side of your mouth, brushing the outer side of each bottom tooth. 

Brush your molars. Position the toothbrush so that it's perpendicular to your lips, or so that the bristles are resting on top of your bottom molars. Work the toothbrush in an in-and-out motion, and move from the back of your mouth to the front. Repeat on the other side of your mouth. When the bottom teeth are clean, flip the toothbrush over and work on the top molars. Make sure to get behind the molars at the back, where microbes like to hide.

Brush the 'inside' of your teeth. After you've brushed the top of your molars, flip the brush so that the bristles are resting along the inner side of one of your back bottom molars. Angle the bristles toward the gums a bit, and brush each molar, moving from the back of your mouth to the front. Work both sides, top and bottom. When you reach your front bottom teeth, tip the toothbrush so that the head of the toothbrush is pointing downward, toward your tongue, and brush each tooth. For your front top teeth, the head of the toothbrush should point to the roof of your mouth. 

Rinse your mouth. Take a sip of water, swish the water around your mouth and then spit it out. 

Rinse your toothbrush. Hold your toothbrush under running water for a few seconds. Let it drain with bristle-head upwards.

Use a good fluoride-containing mouthwash. Take a capful of fluoride-containing mouthwash, swish it around your mouth, and then gargle with it to get it to help clean the back of your tongue where some of the worst microbes lurk, then spit it out. Do not swallow.  Do not rinse all the mouthwash away – leave the traces of it to continue its good work in the whole of your mouth.  Wait about 30 minutes before eating/drinking so as to permit the mouthwash to perform its important roles.

N.B. We don’t want just our teeth to be clean, we need the whole of our mouth to be clean – teeth and tongue and everywhere!



With an electric toothbrush the brushing technique is more or less the same. Pass the brush slowly across your teeth, on the external and then the internal surfaces, without pressing too hard. The circular movement is enough to dislodge most debris.


Ref: J&J internal data

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