How To Brush

If you're like most people, you probably learned how to brush as a child… and chances are, you haven't thought about it much since then. That's understandable — but there may come a point when we find our oral hygiene techniques could use improvement. Here are a few tips on the proper way to brush your teeth… plus, a reminder of why we do it.

First, the reasons why: Brushing is an effective way to remove plaque — a sticky, bacteria-laden biofilm that clings stubbornly to your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids, which erode the tooth's enamel and may lead to tooth decay. Plaque can also cause gum disease and bad breath. In fact, it's believed that over 90% of dental disease is caused by plaque accumulation alone.

Besides removing plaque, the fluoride in toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel and makes teeth more decay-resistant. Plus, brushing makes your mouth feel cleaner and your breath smell fresher. While there is no single “right” way to brush your teeth, there are a number of techniques that can help you get them squeaky-clean. So why wait — let's take a refresher course in brushing right now!

How to brush your teeth.

Proper Brushing Technique

  • To begin, select a small-headed, soft-bristled toothbrush, grasp it gently with your fingers (not your fist), and squeeze on a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Hold the bristles gently against the outside of your top teeth, near the gum line, at about a 45-degree angle upward.
  • Sweep the brush gently back and forth over teeth and gums in soft strokes — or, if you prefer, use an elliptical (circular) motion to clean the teeth.
  • Be sure to clean the spaces between teeth: You can use a sweeping motion to brush food particles away from the gums.
  • When you have done one brush-width, move to the adjacent area of your teeth and repeat. Keep going until you have finished cleaning the outside of the whole top row of teeth.
  • Move to the bottom teeth. Repeat the procedure, tilting the brush down toward the gum line at about 45 degrees. Finish cleaning the outside of the bottom teeth.
  • Go on to the inside of the top teeth. Tilting the bristles up toward the gums, clean the inside of the top teeth with gentle but thorough strokes.
  • Move to the inside of the bottom teeth. Tilt the brush down and repeat the procedure.
  • Now it's time for the chewing surfaces: Holding the bristles flat against the molars, clean the ridges and valleys of the back teeth. Do this for all the top and bottom teeth.
  • Finally, brush your tongue gently to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

Check Your Work

Tongue test.How good a brushing job did you do? One way to get an idea is by simply running your tongue over your teeth: If they feel slick and smooth, then chances are they're clean. If not, you should try again. To know for sure whether you're brushing effectively, you can use a “disclosing solution” — a special dye that highlights plaque and debris your brushing missed.

One common error is not brushing for long enough: two minutes is about the minimum time you need to do a thorough job. If you have music in the bathroom, you could try brushing along with a pop song; when the song's over, you're done! But no matter your musical taste, good brushing technique can go a long way toward maintaining tip-top oral hygiene.

Variations for Comfort

If you're having trouble with the two-finger method, here's another way to try flossing: Just tie the same amount of floss into a big loop, place all your fingers (but not thumbs) inside the loop, and work it around your teeth with index fingers and thumbs. All the other steps remain the same.

Once you've got the basics down, there are a few different types of flosses you can try, including flavored, waxed, and wider width. Some people find waxed floss slides more easily into tighter gaps between teeth or restorations — but it may not make that satisfying “squeak” as it's cleaning. Others prefer wide floss for cleaning around bridgework. But whichever way works best for you, the important thing is to keep it up!

Related Articles

Toothpaste - Dear Doctor Magazine

Toothpaste It's something we put in our mouths every day. Yet for those who actually take the time to read that list of ingredients, it can be hard to figure out what it all means. Dear Doctor magazine breaks it all down and reveals a great way to be sure the claims written on the label can be trusted... Read Article

Oral Hygiene - Dear Doctor Magazine

Oral Hygiene Behavior — Dental Health for Life The best tools for maintaining your oral health and minimizing dental problems are a quality toothbrush, toothpaste, a roll of dental floss, approved mouthwash and good diet. This article details a winning game plan for oral health... Read Article

Dental Hygiene Visit - Dear Doctor Magazine

Dental Hygiene Visit There's a lot more going on at your regular dental hygiene visit than a feel-good polishing! Dental hygienists collaborate with dentists to provide optimum personalized oral health care to prevent oral disease and to promote your health... Read Article

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

The office is open alternating Wednesdays and Fridays!

Primary Location

Monday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "This dental office rocks! Dr. M. & all her staff are knowledable, professional, & all very friendly."
    Lisa Griffith
  • "The entire staff at Ahh Dental are amazing. From the moment you walk in to the treatment area and checking out. Dr. Moreschini is very nice and makes sure patients are comfortable with any treatment. I would recommend everyone and anyone to Ahh dental!"
    Stephanie Lovato
  • "Excellent service and a great staff."
    Herman Lujan
  • "This team is awesome! Each and every one of them are present when you are talking and they explain everything in a language you can follow. They each have a heart of gold. I recommend then to all. I will never go anywhere else for my dental care."
    Regan Rezac
  • "Dr. Moreschini is not only intelligent, well-versed, articulate in diagnosis as well as treatment, but kind and gracious in her treatment administrations. I knew, a year ago, Ahh Dental would be my dental home. I’m even more vested now as a patient but also as a “family member” to this exceprional team of people who strive to provide the best outcome for their patients. Thank you, Ahh Dental"
    Sabine Stanley
  • "I loved this dental office. When I moved away from Santa Fe, I was sincerely sad because it also meant saying goodbye to a dentist I could trust!"
    Jennifer Quick
  • "The patient comes first. The front desk, hygienist and dentist all work together to get you in the healthy zone. The office seems to be run professionally with all the insurance processes integrated."
    John Urbanowski
  • "Best dentist and caring staff."
    Yvonne Vigil
  • "From the front staff to my dental hygienist, everyone was so friendly and personable. Ahh Dental made me fill at ease and that my concerns were important. Very efficient, awesome experience."
    Barbara
  • "I visited Ahh Dental for the first time earlier today and it was one of the most positive experiences I've had at a dental office. I am actually looking forward to my next appointment. Everyone was extremely pleasant and attentive. If you are new to town, or just looking for a new dentist I highly recommend Ahh Dental."
    Kelse Lighthizer
  • "Amazing place! Amazing staff! Everyone that works there is so friendly and down to earth. Honestly wish I could come back all the time I enjoy it so much. Went above and beyond, very highly recommended!!"
    Jordan Higgins
  • "One of my top dental experiences. Everyone was very kind, knowledgeable, and professional."
    Diann Darnall
  • "Highly recommend Ahh Dental. Dr Moreschini is one the the best Dentist who is not only professional but cares about her patients and their well being. She has an excellent staff who are very helpful and also very professional!!"
    Marcella Sandoval
  • "This place is great! Super friendly and welcoming staff! I actually enjoy going to the dentist here! Really recommend them!"
    Oscar Rivera
  • "Dr and staff are the best! Always professional and friendly. They’re current about best dental practices, and the best thing? They don’t nickel and dime you to death. Love them!"
    Susan Miera
  • "Ahh Dental has a wonderful atmosphere and an awesome staff. My appointments and procedures have all been very pleasant and professional - thank you Ahh Dental for my happy teeth and big smile."
    Cherie Hughes
  • "It’s a pleasure sitting in Dr. Moreschini’s chair. She’s a stellar graduate of Creighton and a wonderful reminder of the Marquette University dentists I had for thirty years. She is always a pleasure to work with, efficient and excellent at pain prevention and management. This young woman is my third dentist in three years in Santa Fe. Unquestionably the best."
    Mark Janssen
  • "I'm so glad that I found Dr Renae. She's great to work with . Feel very at ease with her and her staff. Great people. Highly recommend her. Thanks Dr."
    John Vigil
  • "Very clean, conscientious about Coronavirus. Prompt, friendly, quality work"
    Victor Nelson
  • "I had a wonderful experience at Ahh Dental. Everyone was truly kind and professional. Everything was explained to me beforehand and they made sure I was comfortable and felt at ease. Dr. M.and her staff truly care about their patients. Thank you for making my dental appointment a positive one."
    Georgina Perez
  • "Excellent Ahh Dental was very professional and provided me with great care . You can definitely trust Doctor and staff. Procedures were pain free and the work that had been done is excellent you can not get any better service than that."
    Virginia Salazar
  • "Never had a more comprehensive exam and cleaning by dentist and Roxanne, the hygienist. They fortunately found two cavities that two other dentists had missed altogether.!!! a VERY BIG DEAL. also had to have a molar pulled and Dr. Moreshini was so skilled that I didn't even feel it at all! I learned so much from Roxanne about how decay happens, how to prevent tooth decay, how to effectively and affordable whiten my teeth.

    Amazing clinic... Everyone should experience this attention and care for their oral health care."
    Claudia Wolfe