How should I clean my teeth?

January 22, 2018 6:27 am

Advice from your dentist – Oral hygiene

How should I clean my teeth? Are you brushing effectively? Are you brushing all your teeth surfaces? Can you improve your brushing technique?


Why do we need to clean our teeth?


Saliva contains millions of bacteria that stick to the surfaces of the teeth and quickly multiply to form layers of plaque. Plaque is a soft, sticky, colourless substance which when left will cause decay and gum disease.

Efficient tooth cleaning every day will remove the plaque before it builds up in sufficient amounts to damage your teeth or gums.

Brushing cleans around 60% of the tooth surfaces, to clean effectively you also need to clean in-between your teeth using floss, flossette or TePes (interdental brushes).

When your gums are healthy they should be pink and firm, the edges cannot normally be separated from the teeth and there should be no bleeding during brushing.


TePe Brushes


These come in different widths that are colour coded- your dentist will advise you which size is suitable for your teeth.

Push the brush gently between the teeth, a back and forth movement next to the gum will remove the plaque.

Never force the brush through as this could damage your teeth.


Good brushing technique


Brush twice daily using a soft-medium tooth brush and fluoride toothpaste. (make sure that the head of your toothbrush is not too big)

Brush the outer tooth surfaces by tilting the brush against the gum line. Gently move the brush back and forth using short strokes. Keep the bristles angled against the gum line.

Repeat on the inside of all of the teeth.

Brush the chewing surfaces.

Clean the inside of the front teeth by holding the brush vertically and using gentle up and down strokes with the front of the brush.

If the toothbrush does not reach the back teeth close your mouth slightly to achieve better access.

Finish by brushing the surface of the tongue from back to front.

Brushing effectively should take around 2 minutes.

Change your brush every 3 months.


Floss and flossettes


Take an arms-length of floss between your fingers, loop the ends around your middle fingers until there is about 3 inches left in the middle.

Gripping with your thumb and index finger, pass the floss between the teeth holding it in a C shape around the tooth.

Gently move it up and down to remove the plaque.

Flossettes are a plastic fork with the floss already attached, you may find these easier to use when you begin flossing.


The more often you clean in-between your teeth better your technique will become, you may find it easier to use a mirror to begin with. Slowly build up the frequency that you use your interdental cleaners, you should be aiming to use them every day.




We offer direct access hygiene appointments with our fully qualified dental hygienists. You can book you appointment with them online or by calling the practice on 01708 446 447.


We offer a variety of hygiene services, the prices for which can be found on our fees and finance page.