Some brush their teeth in a frantic whirlwind of side-to-side motions. Others glide effortlessly from the top tooth to the very bottom tooth, stroking in-between each molar, canine and incisor. The tap may be left streaming for the two-minute session or it might be simply squirted when the opportunity arises. Will mouthwash be swished or rinsed, before or after? Will floss come into play and will teeth whitening gels be a beauty product revolution? The art of teeth brushing may be about to change.
The variety of teeth brushing methods have stemmed from a mixture of confusion and varying opinions from dentists. New research has identified that there is a myriad of different brushing techniques recommended by dentists and toothpaste companies. To finally come up with a simple conclusion, a new study, published in the British Dental Journal, has identified the perfect brushing technique.
Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health at University College London, senior author of the study, said: “Brush gently with a simple horizontal scrubbing motion, with the brush at a forty-five degree angle to get to the dental plaque. Hold the brush with a pencil grip, rather than a fist. This simple method is perfectly effective for keeping your gums healthy.”
The most significant discovery from the study was the finding that there are five different methods featured in dental textbooks, research papers and manuals from the toothpaste industry; with equally differing advice on how often to brush teeth and for how long.
Professor Sheiham comments: “The public needs to have sound information on the best method to brush their teeth. People hear one thing from a dental association, another from a toothbrush company and something else from their dentist. Dental associations need to be consistent about what method to recommend, based on how effective the method is.”
The study also investigated the best toothpaste to brush with and how many times a day teeth should be brushed. Lead author, Dr John Wainwright, who carried out the study at UCL, and a practising dentist said: “I advise my patients to focus their brushing on areas where plaque is most likely to collect, the biting surfaces and where the teeth and gums meet and to use a gentle scrubbing motion. All too frequently I am asked why the method I am describing differs from how previous dentists have taught them in the past.”
“We need better research into what the easiest to learn, most effective and safest way to brush is. The current situation, where individual dentists and different dental organisations worldwide all give out different brushing guidelines, is just confusing and has an effect on the entire dentistry profession. For something most people do twice a day, you would expect dentists to send a clearer, more unified message to their patients on how to brush their teeth.”
What makes your tooth brushing experience special?