Brushing techniques

How to brush your teeth? Is an electric toothbrush better than a traditional one? These are common questions for taking care of your oral health. Let's start by exploring different brushing techniques.




Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting everyone, it attacks the hard tissue of the tooth. This disease is caused mainly by bacteria that ferment carbohydrates from the diet producing changes in the salivary pH in such a way that a loss of minerals is generated, thus giving rise to a cavity in the tooth known as caries.

The main factor to control is the bacterial plaque, which triggers different diseases such as dental caries, periodontal disease (periodontitis) and other infectious diseases. The most effective method for plaque removal is brushing, which by doing it in an adequate way guarantees oral hygiene; to this method can be added the use of toothpaste, mouth rinses and dental floss or interdental brushes as a complement for the maintenance of oral health.

Although we brush daily and for a long time, many of us are surprised to know that we do not do it properly. These 3 steps will help us remember how to take care of our mouth:


  1. Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes, especially first thing in the morning and before going to bed.
  2. Floss your teeth every day, usually at bedtime.
  3. Go to the dentist every 6 months and have a cleaning if the professional deems it necessary.
  4. There are different brushing techniques, depending on the age, skills and oral health of the patient. To achieve the objectives of oral hygiene is fundamental education and promotion of oral health, so the dentists and hygienists should try to make people aware of the need for self-care and ensure that they perform a brushing technique that effectively eliminates food waste.


The modified Bass technique


  • It is the most recommended by dentists, as it is widely accepted and efficient.
  • A soft bristle brush is recommended to avoid abrasion of the hard tooth structure and gum lesion.
  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the longitudinal axis of the tooth.
  • Make small vibratory movements and then a sweeping movement.

The Fones technique


  • The second most recommended technique, for vestibular areas.
  • Indicated in children for the facility to learn it.
  • The teeth must be in occlusion or in resting position.
  • Place the brush filaments at a 90 degree angle to the tooth surface.
  • Perform extensive rotary movements


The horizontal Scrub technique


  • It is the method of choice for preschoolers.
  • Place the bristles of the brush at a 90-degree angle over the surfaces of the teeth.
  • Perform a series of repeated back and forth movements over the entire oral cavity.
  • Horizontal brushing techniques have been observed to increase enamel abrasion.


The modified Stillman technique


  • It is indicated in adult patients who do not have periodontal disease.
  • It is the same as the Bass technique but the filaments are placed 2 mm above the gingival margin, i.e. above the gum.
  • The vibration is maintained for 15 seconds and at the end a sweeping movement is made towards the end of the tooth.


The Vibratory Charters Technique


  • It's the least recommended.
  • It is indicated in adult patients with periodontal diseases.
  • Indicated for the elimination of interproximal plaque.
  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle with respect to the dental axis but directed towards the incisal edge.
  • Vibratory movements are made that produce a massage on the gums.


What type of brush should I use?

Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled toothbrush is ideal for removing plaque and food debris from teeth. Small head brushes are also recommended because they reach all areas of the mouth better, even hard-to-reach back teeth.

With the arrival of new technologies, electric toothbrushes came onto the market which have shown to have a high energy and sufficient forces capable of removing a significant amount of bacteria in the oral cavity, as well as being more efficient than the Bass technique in terms of plaque removal, demonstrating an improvement in the techniques used, because for people who do not have the ability or motor ability to perform the brushing technique correctly, this can be very useful. It has been shown that these electric toothbrushes offer as good results as when using a traditional toothbrush together with dental floss.

With respect to the periodicity of tooth brushing, it is recommended at least twice a day to achieve an acceptable plaque control; when the brushing is excessive and in addition to this it is added that the brush has hard bristles, that the brushing technique is horizontal and the toothpaste abrasive, there may be abrasion of the dental tissue, gingival recession and increased sensitivity. Exposure of dentine in the cervical area by brushing makes the tooth tissue more vulnerable to toothpaste and acid pH of foods, weakening it and making it more susceptible to hypersensitivity.

How often does a toothbrush have to be replaced?

You should replace your toothbrush when it shows signs of wear or every three months. It is also important to change your toothbrushes after a cold, as bristles collect germs that can cause a new infection.


Regardless of the technological advances of recent years, toothbrushing continues to be the method of choice for maintaining oral hygiene; although there are different brushing techniques described and the Bass technique is the most recommended and used, the important thing is to carry out the brushing in a meticulous manner so as to guarantee the correct elimination of bacterial plaque, having access to all dental surfaces. The basis of the above is education in the prevention of disease and promotion of oral health, which allows people to raise awareness so as to avoid the development of all diseases that can be triggered by lack of hygiene.