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HealthSheets™

How to Brush Your Teeth

Brush after meals, using a soft brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Start at 1 place and work all the way around your mouth. Brush the front, back, and top of each tooth as shown below. Proper brushing should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

Four easy steps to brushing your teeth

Closeup of mouth showing toothbrush brushing upper teeth.

Closeup of mouth showing toothbrush brushing inside of lower molars.

1.

  • Hold the brush at a 45° angle at the gumline.

  • Gently brush the outer surfaces, using a circular motion. Don’t scrub or use a lot of pressure.

2.

  • Brush the inner surfaces of the back teeth.

  • Use the same circular motion.

Closeup of mouth showing toothbrush brushing behind top incisors.

Closeup of mouth showing toothbrush brushing behind top incisors.

3.

  • Turn the brush and use the tip to clean the inner surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth.

4.

  • Clean the chewing surfaces using a scrubbing motion.

  • Brush your tongue.

  • Rinse well.

Why brush?

Brushing every day will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Having clean teeth also makes you look and feel better. Your breath is fresher. Your smile is brighter. And your teeth feel smooth.

Fighting plaque

Many kinds of bacteria live in your mouth. These germs collect on your teeth and gums and quickly form a sticky film called plaque. Plaque is the major cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Since plaque is always forming, it needs to be removed every day. Brushing removes plaque from tooth surfaces and around the gumline. Flossing breaks up plaque between teeth and under gums.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.