Manual Toothbrushing


Which type of manual toothbrush should I use?

Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to recommend a toothbrush to you.  However, adults should choose a small to medium size brush with soft to medium multi-tufted, round-ended bristles.  The head should be small enough to get into all parts of the mouth, especially the back of the mouth where cleaning can be difficult. 

We really like the Oral B Pro Expert Cross Action Range. They have small heads with a little fuzzy tip that helps to get to the hard to reach places. The bristles cross over each other which gives a more thorough clean.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

It is important to change your toothbrush every two to three months or sooner if the filaments become worn.  When filaments become splayed, they do not clean properly. Some toothbrushes have indicator bristles which change colour as you use them. When the colour is gone from one third to half the length of the bristle that’s when you should change your brush (depending on the manufacturer).

How should I brush?

Brushing aims to remove plaque and food particles from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. Plaque is made up of thousands of bacteria which contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, toothbrushing is an essential part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy!

Here is one method of removing plaque:

  • Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth and angle towards the gum-line. Move the brush in small movements, backwards and forwards several times, on all the surfaces of each individual tooth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small strokes. It should take two minutes to brush all of your teeth to make sure they are squeaky clean.
  • We recommend spending one minute on the top teeth and one minute on the bottom ones. You can then split those minutes into 30 seconds of the outside surfaces (lips and cheek surfaces) and 30 seconds on the inside (tongue and roof of mouth surfaces). Lots of people find using a timer helps to make sure that you’re spending enough time on the task at hand!

Bass technique Bass technique

How often should I brush my teeth?

You should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day or more often if your dentist recommends it.  Brushing last thing before bed is very important because we produce less saliva when we are asleep. That means that our teeth are more at risk at night time as saliva helps to neutralise acid and protect against decay.

Also, we ideally shouldn’t eat or drink anything other than water within half an hour of bedtime. That gives our saliva time to work its magic and bring your mouth back to a healthy pH before toothbrushing and sleeping.

The same rule applies to not brushing straight after something sweet or acidic. Waiting 20-30 minutes before brushing can reduce risk of acid erosion…once again we need to allow the saliva a little extra time to do its job.

Do I need to clean between teeth?

Yes. Food and plaque gather between your teeth, and in any gaps you may have.  If left, this can cause dental decay and gum disease. See our other oral hygiene blogs for help on how to clean between your teeth.