Keeping your teeth and gums healthy, proper cleaning, and having the best oral hygiene is essential.

Plaque builds over time if you are not brushing your teeth in a proper way, which can cause dental issues like decay, cavities, and gum diseases. Brushing your teeth can help prevent these issues, though, most people are unaware of how to properly brush the teeth.

What Is the Right Way to Brush?

To effectively brush, all you need is 120 seconds, basically 2 minutes. If you are doing it for less than two minutes, chances are you are not doing it the right way. Ideally reaching the back of your teeth with gentle strokes and paying attention to the gum line is the right way to brush. You must cover fillings, crowns, or restoration if you have any. It is better to use a timer because most of us brush for not more than 1 minute. To brush effectively, you must consider following these areas:

  • Outer surfaces of your upper and lower teeth
  • Inner surfaces of your upper and lower teeth
  • Cleaning chewing surfaces
  • Brush your tongue for a fresher breath

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?

This has been a question for a long time. What professionals recommend is using a brush with soft bristles as they are more effective for plaque. However, smaller brushes easily target hard-to-reach areas, front and back. People who find brushing hard or don’t know how to properly brush their teeth can use a powered or electric toothbrush for enhanced brushing in less time.

How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?

Amongst a myriad of toothpastes, choosing the one that best suits your needs is essential. You must consult your dentist for the right toothpaste if you have any specific issues like tartar, stains, cavities, gingivitis and sensitivity.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

It is suggested to change your toothbrush every 3 months, however, you must also look for the signs of wearing. According to dentists, if you have had a cold, changing a toothbrush is necessary because germs can sit in the bristles that can cause reinfection.

Why It’s Important To Switch Brushes Regularly

Worn out bristles do not effectively remove plaque from teeth that can lead to major issues like decay or plaque build-up, which can eventually lead to gum diseases. Fresh bristles on new toothbrushes ensure effective cleaning for healthy oral hygiene. Everyone must know when it is time to change their toothbrush!

When It’s Time For A New Toothbrush

As per ADA recommendations, every toothbrush must be changed after every 3 months, but if you see signs of wear before time, then do it before 3 months. If the bristles of your toothbrush are extending beyond the width of the base, it means that the brush has served its time.

If your brush often wears out before 3 months, it means that you are brushing aggressively. While brushing is good, brushing too vigorously can cause damage to the enamel. Putting light pressure with smaller strokes in circles and back or forth is enough for effective cleaning. For a visual presentation on how to properly brush your teeth, you can get help from your dentist. 

A new, fresh, and clean toothbrush is your weapon to fight against dental issues. If you are not sure when is the time to change your brush, ask your dentist. 


What about those tight spaces between your teeth? To ensure overall oral cleaning, flossing can bring significant impact in preventing dental issues like gum diseases and decay. For lifelong health teeth, you must learn how to effectively floss because there are places where even the best and newest brushes may not be able to reach.

What is the Right Way to Floss?

The brush fails to hit tight spaces between your teeth and gum line where most of the debris or food is stuck. Flossing daily can help you get rid of buildup and food particles stuck in between your teeth. Dentists recommend flossing once a day.

Following the right techniques can help you effectively floss.

How to hold the floss

  • Take approximately 45cm of floss and wind it on your finger. Make sure to leave at least 3cm of floss to work with.

How to floss?

  • After tightly setting the floss between your index finger and thumb, slide it gently into the teeth with back and forth motions. 
  • Go under the gum line by gently cursing the floss at the base of your teeth.
  • Avoid touching your gums with floss as it can cause injury or bruises.
  • Keep rotating the floss as you move forward to ensure the floss is clean.

How to remove the floss

  • Rather than pulling it out all at once, use back and forth motions upwards.

Floss Once a Day

Excess of everything can be bad. The secret to a healthy mouth and teeth is “flossing right” not “flossing aggressively”. Immoderate flossing can damage the gum line, leading to issues like sensitivity and irritation. The ADA recommends flossing once a day. The nighttime is ideal to floss your teeth for a lifelong healthy mouth.

Use a Gentle Touch

Flossing vigorously will not help clean your teeth better, though it can cause irritation and injury to gums. Instead of forcing the floss into teeth, slide it against the side of the tooth to snap it into place, followed by gentle and light, back and forth motions.

What type of floss should I use?

The two types of floss are;

  • Nylon; multifilament floss
  • PTFE; monofilament floss

Nylon floss is made of multiple nylon strands and comes in variable flavours. Nylon floss is of two types; coated and uncoated. However, they have chances of shredding while flossing due to contact in tight spaces.

PTFE floss is an expensive alternative. It is shred-resistance and conveniently slides between tight spaces.

If you are using it in a proper manner, both Nylon and PTFE floss work effectively in cleaning residue or plaque.

Is Flossing Really That Important?

Conclusively yes! We all know the word plaque. In dental terms, a bacterial film on teeth is known as plaque. If not cleaned regularly it can build up over time, causing issues like decay, gum diseases, bad breath and a host of other dental issues.

As per the ADA, brushing alone cannot clean the whole teeth because a large part of your teeth area is covered with in-between spaces. The spaces where the brush does not reach is home to bacteria. If you are flossing in addition to brushing, you are cleaning that other half of your teeth.

Despite understanding the need to floss, most people are not able to do so owing to numerous factors like:

  • Limited mobility or dexterity.
  • Joint disease or injury.
  • Braces.
  • Gaps between the teeth.
  • Receding gums.

Gladly, such issues do not deprive you of flossing. You can go for other alternatives like floss picks and threaders, interdental brushes or water flossers.

You must not disregard flossing for reasons such as time consumption or you do not know how to floss. Looking at the bigger picture, flossing helps in preventing bad breath, unnatural loss of teeth, and gum diseases in the long run – it’s totally worth the time and effort.

If you feel like flossing is not your thing, consult your dentists to get hold of the right products, proper education, and individual care that can make cleaning easier and consistent for you. It helps in developing healthy oral habits that ensure lifelong health.

All content and media on the HealthEngine Blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call the emergency services immediately.