Since we all learned to brush our teeth as children, it may be a skill you think you’ve mastered by now. But, as we get older, we may get a little lax and can use some tips to brush up on our oral hygiene. There’s nothing wrong with a little refresher course when it comes to the proper way to brush teeth.

We’re going to walk you through the process so that your teeth end up in the best shape possible. Let’s get brushing.

Step By Step Guide on the Proper Way to Brush Teeth

Get Your Toothbrush Ready

The first step when it comes to the proper way to brush teeth is to get your toothbrush ready. Wet your toothbrush with water and apply a strip of toothpaste. There are many different varieties of toothpaste out there, so be sure to find the one that you like best. While it all comes down to personal preference, choosing one with fluoride helps to protect against cavities and tooth decay.

Start at the Top

Hold your brush gently against the outside of your top teeth at a 45-degree angle upward. Gently brush back and forth over the teeth and gums. Some people prefer using a circular motion instead, so find what works best for you.

Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to clean the spaces between your teeth. Use a sweeping motion to get the food particles away from your gums. When you’re done with one brush-width area, move to the next area and repeat until you’ve cleaned the entire top row.

Move to the Bottom

Whatever you did on the top, you’ll want to repeat on the bottom. Tilt the brush down toward the gum line, again at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to brush all of the outsides of the bottom teeth before moving on.

Brush the Inside of the Teeth

Once all of the outsides of the teeth are done, move on to the inside of the top teeth. Tilt the bristles up toward the gums and brush the inside of the top teeth. Do the same with the inside of the bottom teeth, just tilt the brush down instead. This is the proper way to brush teeth.

Brush the Molars

After you’ve hit all the teeth on the top and bottom, move to the back and brush the molars. Hold the brush flat against the molars, cleaning the ridges of the back teeth. Be sure to do this to all top and bottom teeth.

Brush Your Tongue

Brushing your tongue is also part of the proper way to brush teeth. This helps to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.


Finish the process by rinsing with water or a mouthwash of your choice. If you go the mouthwash route, check with your dentist because not all mouthwashes are best for your teeth.

FAQ About the Proper Way to Brush Teeth

How Long Should I Brush For?

Many people just don’t brush for as long as they should. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to get the job done. Some people put on music and brush for the duration of the song. That is typically longer than two minutes. 

How Many Times a Day Should I Brush?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You’ll also want to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to floss once a day. By following all of these tips, you can keep your smile in tip-top shape.

What Type of Brush Should I Use?

Soft brushes are often preferred because firm or medium bristles can damage your gums or enamel. Look for brushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. 

How Much Toothpaste Do I Need To Use?

You should put enough toothpaste on your brush to cover the full length of the toothbrush’s bristles.

Contact Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry to Schedule Your Appointment

When you want to maintain strong, healthy teeth, contact the team at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry. We can take care of all of your family dentistry needs. We take a variety of insurance plans and are currently accepting new patients. Call our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 or our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Trust us with all of your dental needs.