Q: Is there a recommended technique for brushing teeth?
A: As with just about any human activity, there are ways to maximize the quality of the outcome. Divide your mouth into quadrants, thinking of the right and left sections on top, and the same on the bottom. And think of each quadrant having an inside and outside, for a total of eight sections. Brush each of those sections separately.
The back teeth are the hardest to clean, so start with them. To get to the outside surfaces of the back teeth, open your mouth only slightly. Otherwise, you will stretch the cheeks taut against the teeth and impede the movement of the brush. In each of the sections, tilt the brush to a 45-degree angle to brush where the tooth and the gum meet. You want to make sure the brush’s bristles work their way into the groove — also called the sulcus — where tooth and gum meet.
Keep the brush horizontal and the strokes short, a quarter inch or so, as you brush the teeth. Move to the next section and repeat. After brushing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water. Talk with your dentist and dental hygienist about the right way to brush your teeth and how to supplement brushing with flossing and with any other steps he or she might recommend.
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