With the numerous types of toothbrushes on the market, it can be challenging to know which will work best for you. There is electric, battery-operated and manual. They come in soft, medium, and hard-bristled. All the options can be overwhelming! It is essential to choose the right toothbrush based on your needs, so talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about which toothbrush will work best for you and your teeth.
Electric Toothbrush Technique
Typically, an electric toothbrush does a better job of plaque removal than a manual toothbrush because the electric toothbrush is doing the work for you. Your job is to help the toothbrush by slowly moving it along, tooth by tooth. Spend about 3 seconds on each surface of every tooth (that means top, front, and back.) Electric toothbrushes either use an oscillating motion or a sweeping motion. Some electric toothbrushes come with a pressure indicator to let you know when you are applying too much pressure and a UV cleaning station to sanitize your toothbrush head.
Manual Toothbrush Techniques
Circular Brushing Technique
This brushing technique is the easiest to learn and is therefore great for children. The teeth can either be open (brushing one arch at a time) or closed (brushing both top and bottom teeth simultaneously.) Position the toothbrush directly on the teeth surfaces at a 90-degree angle, and the brush is worked in a circular motion on the teeth and gums. The brush should be pressed gently, not aggressively, onto the teeth and gums. The technique is repeated through the entire mouth on the front surfaces and back surfaces of the teeth. For the biting surfaces, a back and forth scrub technique can be used.
Stillman’s Brushing Technique
The following two brush techniques, Stillman’s and Bass, are more suited for adults, requiring more dexterity. For Stillman’s technique, the toothbrush is placed at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Ensure that the bristles are partially on both the teeth and gums and a slight vibratory motion is used to remove plaque from the teeth and on top of the gum line. Next, a rolling motion is used to flick the toothbrush bristles away from the gums and remove plaque. Use this vibration and rolling stroke on all front and back surfaces of the teeth, and a back and forth scrubbing technique can be used for the biting surfaces.
Bass Brushing Technique
Similar to Stillman’s brushing technique, the bass technique uses the vibrating motion at the gum line. The bass technique’s difference is that the bristles are placed slightly underneath the gum line instead of on top. The vibrating motion helps dislodge plaque from underneath the gum line, where it often collects. This brush stroke is best suited for people with gingivitis or gum disease.