The Ultimate Guide To Brushing Your Teeth - A Cleveland Dentist Explains

How often do you really pay attention when you brush your teeth?

For many, brushing your teeth is just another mindless activity that we know we need to do every day.

It's kind of like driving to work and not remembering a thing about the drive because it's become so routine.

We pick up our toothbrush, start brushing, and we're not exactly sure what happens between the time we start and the time we stop.

It just happens.

So needless to say, a lot of us aren't getting a lot out of brushing our teeth.

We need to be present with a game plan to fight cavities and rid our mouths of bacteria every time we brush.

In order for you to develop that gameplan, we've put together the Ultimate Guide To Brushing Your Teeth.


Article Table of Contents:

Choose Your Toothbrush

Choose Your Toothpaste

How To Brush

In The Morning

In The Evening

To Gargle Or Not To Gargle?

Floss Floss Floss


Choose Your Toothbrush

First things first, you need a good toothbrush.

Most people will do fine using soft to medium bristles.

However, using an electric toothbrush is highly recommended.

The benefits of using an electric toothbrush are almost endless.

With an electric toothbrush, you don't have to worry about what angle you are holding your toothbrush.

All you need to do is turn it on and make sure you cover your entire mouth.

You also won't need to worry about applying too much pressure on your teeth.

An electric toothbrush is so efficient that it will protect you from overbrushing and putting too much pressure on your teeth.

Most electric toothbrushes today will come with built-in timers and multiple cleaning modes including whitening and sensitive teeth.

If you use a standard toothbrush, replace it at least every three months.

With an electric toothbrush, follow the manufacturers instructions about replacing the heads.

Dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste

Choose Your Toothpaste

Now that you have your brush, it's time to get some toothpaste.

Most people don't put too much thought into buying their toothpaste, and they buy what they're used to.

Picking the right toothpaste is a crucial step in taking care of our oral hygiene.

Using the wrong toothpaste is like fueling your Ferrari with the cheap gas.

Sure, the car will still drive, but you're missing out on a lot of performance.

Most, if not all, dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste.

Using a fluoride toothpaste strengthens your enamel, and prevents tooth decay.

It can also aid in repairing already damaged teeth.

If you're big on taste or have a sweet tooth, there are kinds of toothpaste designed with you in mind.

You can also get a toothpaste designed for whitening if you're trying to remove coffee stains or if you're going for an overall whiter smile.

How To Brush

Now it's time to get to work.

You need to be present and focused while you're brushing your teeth.

You want to brush your teeth exactly as the dentist would.

Most of the time people will aimlessly wander around their mouth with their toothbrush with no rhyme or reason.

That's not the way to do it. There's a method to the madness.

Dentists recommend divining your mouth into four sections.

Top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right.

Brush your teeth from the front to the back, moving between each of the sections.

Brush the outer surface, the inner surface, and then the chewing surface.

Once you've finished your teeth, be sure to brush your tongue.

If you own, or your toothbrush has a built-in tongue scraper, that's ideal to use for your tongue.

If not, the bristles on your toothbrush will suffice.

Brushing three times a day is ideal, once after every meal.

Brushing twice is absolutely necessary, once after you wake up, and once right before bed.

In The Morning

The benefits of brushing in the morning are obvious.

Who hasn't woken up next to someone and got a swift punch to the face by their "morning breath?"

Brushing your teeth as soon as you wake up will take care of your morning breath.

Be sure to brush as soon as you wake up, don't wait until after breakfast.

When you sleep at night, your saliva production slows, allowing bacteria to grow in your mouth.

Brushing as soon as you wake up kills the bacteria that grew overnight.

Your significant other will also appreciate it.

In The Evening

We accumulate tiny bits of food on and between our teeth throughout the day.

Eating three square meals and snacking leaves a lot behind.

Brushing your teeth at night before bed removes these particles, so they aren't sitting in your mouth all night.

With food sitting in your mouth, it will be much easier for bacteria to grow overnight.

Brushing at night will also help with preventing bad breath. 

It won't keep you from having morning breath, but it will remove all the foods in your mouth that could cause additional odors.

When you're done brushing at night, be sure to rinse your toothbrush with hot water.

If you don't rinse your toothbrush correctly, bacteria can sit and accumulate on your brush overnight.

Then, when you brush in the morning, you're putting old bacteria back into your mouth.

To Gargle Or Not To Gargle?

The often debated question, "do I need to use mouthwash?"

Short answer: Yes.

The Academy of General Dentistry did a study that followed 139 people.

These people all used the same toothbrush and toothpaste, and they all flossed.

The only difference is one group used a placebo mouthwash, and the other group used a real antiseptic mouthwash.

After following them for six months, the results were in.

And the mouthwash worked.

Plaque had declined 26 percent more for those using the antiseptic mouthwash.

Fifty-one percent of those cleaned with the antiseptic mouthwash had less plaque at the end of the study vs. 12 percent of those cleaned with the placebo.

An improvement in gingivitis was found for 98 percent of those in the antiseptic mouthwash group vs. only 30 percent of the others.

So while it's never recommended to replace brushing your teeth with mouthwash, using mouthwash is a great addition to your oral care routine.

Flossing is an essential part of your daily routine

Floss Floss Floss

Just when you thought we were done.

Your routine isn't finished until you've flossed.

Most people don't like to floss, or don't want to be bothered to do it.

It would be best if you did it.

Bleeding gums, bad breath, tartar buildup and tooth loss are all side effects of not flossing.

I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in losing any of my teeth.


If you've followed along and implemented all of the tips above, you will have a big beautiful smile in no time.

At first, it might seem daunting to add all of this into your daily routine.

However, just like everything else, once you've done it enough, it becomes second nature.

Once it turns into a habit, you'll have a beautiful white smile, clean breath, and you'll save a lot of money on dentist appointments.

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