Good oral hygiene – how to effectively use a manual toothbrush

We are all taught to brush our teeth at least twice every day, and that circular motions are the way to go, but do we know HOW to brush our teeth effectively? Brushing your teeth is the first step to ensuring good oral hygiene and to minimise the risk of other health complications.


You should brush your teeth for two minutes morning and evening (or more), taking care to reach your back teeth and to gently clean your gums too. Remember to use a fluoride toothpaste and to replace your toothbrush every three months.


Think of your mouth as being divided into quadrants. Spend 30 seconds cleaning your lower left, lower right, upper left and upper right sections. It is advised that you have a clock nearby to ensure that you follow the recommended time.


Steps for effective brushing:

  1. Start by brushing the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth in short strokes, while making sure you do your back teeth and gum line.
  2. Now do the crowns and chewing surfaces by holding your brush flat and moving back and forth along your teeth.
  3. To clean your front teeth, tilt your brush vertically and use gentle vertical strokes.
  4. Gently brush all long your gum line again.
  5. Your tongue should not be neglected as this is the area where most odour-causing bacteria grows. Brush your tongue in a sweeping motion from back to front.
  6. As with the tongue, do not neglect the roof of your mouth. This is a very sensitive area, therefore give it a good number of gentle strokes with your toothbrush.


Once you start getting into a routine, the two minutes will feel like no time at all, and you will start to see the benefits of practicing a good brushing technique for improved oral hygiene.