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Video:How to Brush Teeth

with Dr. Lawrence Spindel

Even though you've been doing it for years, it's quite possible that you do not brush your teeth the way a dentist hopes you do. See the best tooth brushing techniques and practices you should be using.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Brush Teeth

Hi, I'm Dr. Lawrence Spindel. I have a dental practice in Manhattan with an emphasis on cosmetic, preventive and implant dentistry. I'm here today for about.com to explain how to properly brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth is probably the single most important thing you can do on a daily basis to keep your mouth healthy.

Many people take it for granted, but if done properly it's very important and it can save your smile. But it actually is technique sensitive and requires some skill.

Create a Brushing Routine

Brushing your teeth should be done in a systematic way. Start brushing in one corner of your mouth and work your way around until you finish an arch. Then switch to a different surface, the inner surface for example, and work your way around until you finish that. Then you can switch to the lower arch or the upper, whichever one hasn't been done, and do the same thing.

I'd like you to, when you're brushing your teeth, to start in the same place every day. You place your tooth brush at a 45 degree angle, resting against the gums and use a very short stroke. Probably going one and a half teeth at any given time. Do that for about 10 seconds. And then move over to the next 2 teeth. Work your way around gradually until you have completed the entire arch. It's ok if it's feeling awkward to switch the toothbrush to a different angle. Most dentists say that brushing your mouth thoroughly should take about 2 minutes. But if you want to, you can spend more time.

When you finish the arch, you can do the inside. When you're doing the inside of the teeth it's better to move the toothbrush vertically and go up and down. Sometimes I use the tip of the brush to clean near the necks of the teeth, which is the most important area. That's probably why most of the toothbrushes have what's called a power tip. This is designed for getting the, especially the upper and lower interiors on the inside.

Brush the Upper Teeth

When you've completed the arches it's important to open wide and brush the occlusal surfaces of all your upper teeth. Switch to the lower arch and do the same thing. Ten seconds for two teeth. Work your way around the arch gradually. It doesn't require a great deal of pressure to have the process be effective. Switch to the other direction, holding the brush the other way.

Brush Teeth Insides

When you've completed the outsides of your teeth, switch to the inside. Again, at 45 degree angle. It's perfectly ok to life the toothbrush up vertically and use the power tip to continue brushing. When you reach the lower interiors, move your tooth brush more vertically and switch to an up and down motion. Once you get to your cuspid tooth you can switch back to what you were doing on the other side. And using the front part of the toothbrush to do the cleaning.

Forty five degrees, pick a corner to start at. Short strokes, quick vibrations, quick. As fast as you can, that's it, that's it. I would angle it a little bit higher, like that. Very good. Now gradually work your way around. Ten seconds per area. Let's see you do the inside now. Remember, you got to angle it down. You've got to use the power tip. When you get to the front – you're going to switch it so that it's vertical. And make sure you open your mouth as wide as you can, cause you've got to get near the gums. Go ahead.

I find it helpful to do this in front of a mirror. So, you can actually see where the brush is being placed. Brushing your teeth is probably the single most important thing you can do on a daily basis to keep your teeth healthy.

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