All of us brush but sometimes just scrub the teeth or brush them in a vertical motion. Most of us do not brush the right way. This can lead to plaque accumulation in the gums and toothbrush abrasion. We need to brush for 2 minutes once in the morning and once before bed. We need to brush three surfaces of the teeth in the upper and lower jaws – the outer surface of the teeth that is visible outside, the biting surface that we used to chew and the inner surface that is felt by the tongue.
Brushing should start once the first tooth erupts. Before that, the infants gum pads need to be gently wiped with a slightly damp sterile gauze wrapped around the parents index finger. Once teeth erupt, children can brush by biting their teeth and slightly pressing the brush at right angles against the teeth and moving the brush in large circular motion. 4-5 times on each set of the teeth and move to the next set. This is the Fones method of brushing.
For adults, angle your brush 45 degrees at the gum line, move it in a small circular motion to loosen the plaque at and underneath your gums, then sweep the brush away from the gums to remove debris on to the front surface of the teeth. This is repeated 4-5 times and then move onto the next set of teeth. Your brush might cover 3-4 teeth. This is repeated on the inside surface. Biting surfaces should be cleaned in a front and back scrubbing motion. This is the modified Bass method of brushing.
Toothbrush should be changed every 3 months or earlier if bristles are frayed. Use an ultra-soft or soft bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure should be used while brushing. A pea sized amount of toothpaste can be used from 3 years upwards. For children less than 3 years, a smear or a rice grain sized amount of toothpaste must only be used to minimize the amount of ingested fluoride though caregivers must encourage the children to spit. It is important to clean the tongue as well with the toothbrush. Flossing at least once a day is mandatory too.