Dental Hygiene
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What is the best technique to brush your teeth?




Confusion over the best way to Brush your teeth

It can be terribly frustrating when the dentist tells you that you aren't brushing your teeth correctly, and it appears there are some mixed messages coming from the profession about the elusive 'perfect technique'.
A recent study by the UCL entitled"An analysis of methods of tooth brushing recommended by dental associations, toothpaste and toothbrush companies and in dental texts" has highlighted that six main methods have become prevalent, but we are no nearer to a correct answer.

If you, like the majority of US & Canada, simply shunt your toothbrush from side-to-side in frantic horizontal motions, you're using the aptly named 'Horizontal Scrub Technique'. This might give the sensation and appearance of cleanliness, but it can cause abrasion to your tooth enamel and gums, and it doesn't get into the gum line very well.Interestingly though, 5 experts in the study actually recommended this technique.




Many of you will have left the dentist with advice to use the 'Bass Cleaning Technique'.This is where you angle your brush down towards the gum line and make gentle brushing motions on each individual tooth.If you've ever suffered from gingivitis, you may have been advised to incorporate this method into your routine.The Modified Bass Technique (which incorporates other methods) was the most recommended method of brushing in the study with 19 devotees; 11 recommended the Bass Technique itself.



The 'Stillman Brushing Technique' resembles the Bass Method but with more focus on the cervical part of your tooth (where the gum meets the tooth).



The Charters Brushing Technique cleans those difficult vertical areas between teeth.Methods like Charters are often used to clean dentures, although the toothpaste and brush usually differ for prosthodontics. Polident cleaner is a well-known brand and has been specially developed for denture wearers and cleans teeth by removing tough stains and reducing odours.



The Fones Brushing Technique is popular amongst kids as it involves those broad circular motions of the toothbrush which dentists tend to impress upon young children.10 experts in the UCL study recommended the Fones Technique.It should be noted that kids will often tend to also use the 'Roll Stroke' which involves holding the brush high on the gum line and sweeping downwards towards the tooth.

There is no right answer in this study, and perhaps it's often best for dentists to be reactive rather than proactive to a patient's needs.Leading Dentist, Nigel Carter said:
"Dentists generally feel it is better to take a person's existing habits and modify them if necessary."

Dentists and specialists from the tooth care industry varied greatly in their recommendations, so perhaps you should leave it to your dentist to tell you which areas you're missing and amend your habits accordingly.

Methods in more detail:
Junior Dentists: Types of tooth brushing techniques
Canadian Denture Association: Dental Care