How to brush your teeth correctly

Do you wonder how often should you brush your teeth, change your toothbrush, or if you should brush your teeth before or after breakfast? Get these answers and more, ​with expert input from Ms Yap Xin Ying, Senior Oral Health Therapist, Department of Restorative Dentistry, National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

The correct way to brush your teeth

  • Place the toothbrush at 45 degrees to the margin of the gums and brush gently in a short back-and-forth motion.

  • For the inner surface of the upper and lower front teeth, the toothbrush should be tilted vertically and used in up-and-down strokes.

  • Do not brush horizontally along the gum line – this can cause the gum to recede.

When and how often to brush your teeth

Brush your teeth at least twice daily, in the morning and at night before you sleep, for at least two minutes each time. It is important to wait at least 30-45 minutes after a meal before you brush your teeth. This is because food reduces the pH level in the mouth. When the pH level drops, your mouth becomes acidic and brushing teeth at this time can remove enamel. Saliva in the mouth will gradually clear out the acid and restore the pH level.

A manual and electric toothbrush should be changed every three months or earlier if the bristles are frayed.

Tips for good oral hygiene

  1. Use fluoride toothpaste as it’s been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

  2. Make it a daily habit to floss or use an inter-dental brush to remove bacteria and food debris in between teeth and under the gum line. These can accumulate to form plaque.

  3. Avoid frequent snacking on food or drinks high in sugars or acid. Limit between-meal snacks to two a day.

  4. Visit a dentist regularly so that dental problems can be detected and treated promptly.

  5. Get your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals.

Click on page 1 to learn how to choose the best toothbrush​​.

Ref: Q15

Check out our other articles on oral care:

Tips for Clean Teeth

Bad Breath: Causes and How to Keep It Away

Wisdom Tooth: When to Extract

Gum Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Am I Too Old for Braces?

Wearing Dentures? What You Need to Know