When it comes to proper brushing technique, there are a lot of conflicting methods coming from different sources. Toothbrush companies say one thing, while your dentist may say another. Brushing in small circular motions, brushing in short strokes, which type of brush to use, how hard to brush, and when to do so are all questions that are answered differently across the dental community.
Researchers from UC London decided to clear up all this conflicting information once and for all. For something as basic as brushing, it seems silly that the dental community can’t come to a consensus on how to do so properly. There are plenty of complicated methods out there, but research has proven that simplicity is best. A gentle, horizontal scrub across all tooth surfaces is proven to be just as effective as small circles, short choppy strokes, etc. To avoid brushing too hard, the brush should be held in the pencil grip, not in a closed fist. Toothbrush bristles should be the soft variety, and be sure to buy a brush with a solid head as opposed to hollow.
The most important areas to hit are the biting surfaces and where the teeth met the gums. In terms of when you should brush after you’ve eaten/drank, the answer is it does not matter. While some dentists say brushing after meals helps prevent decay, the study shows that the acid produced when you eat food has already done whatever damage it’ll do within two minutes of your meal. So, brushing once in the morning and once before bed is still the best way to go. In conclusion, it would seem that the best way to approach brushing is to keep it simple. Be gentle, but thorough with horizontal brushing motions, and do it twice daily. Other than that, there’s not much else to it!