According to a new study of international dental organizations shows that dentists around the world have many different opinions about the best way to brush teeth. Researchers looked at recommendations from dental associations, manufacturers and marketers of toothpastes and toothbrushes, dental textbooks, and other professional sources, and found that there was a low degree of agreement about the right way to brush teeth.

Different Techniques for Brushing

Researchers found that the most popular toothbrushing recommendation was to use the Modified Bass technique. This technique, which received 19 recommendations, starts with the toothbrush held at a 45° angle placed at the gum margin. Soft pressure is applied and the toothbrush is moved with small vibratory back-and-forth motions. Start with the back teeth and move toward the front. First do all the outside surfaces, then the inside surfaces (holding the toothbrush vertically to clean the inside of your front teeth), and finally the chewing surfaces. As you finish the side of each tooth, sweep the brush upward toward the biting surface.

The next most popular technique was the Bass technique, which includes all the same steps, excuse the final flourish. It received 11 recommendations.

The Fones method utilizes tiny circles rather than the back-and-forth motions, and recommends the toothbrush be held perpendicular to the tooth. It received 10 recommendations. The Scrub technique received five recommendations. This technique uses a horizontal back-and-forth motion.

How Often Should We Brush? And for How Long? Evidence Is Lacking

The sources also disagreed about how often we should brush. Some recommended brushing twice a day. Others said at least three, and we have seen recommendations that said at least once a day. Disagreements about how long we should brush were common, too. Recommendations ranged from two minutes to at least three. In general, it was agreed that longer brushing removed more plaque, but no one was sure where was the point of diminishing returns.

This is because there is very little evidence about the absolute benefits of one brushing technique over another. As far as time brushing, it’s important to brush until you have adequately cleaned your teeth. If your teeth still feel fuzzy, you need to brush longer. Also, your dentist can tell during your regular checkups whether your brushing technique is adequate to keep your teeth healthy.

If you are looking for help maintaining your oral hygiene, please call 845-627-7645 for an appointment a Rockland County dentist at B & D Dental Excellence.