How to Brush Your Teeth Properly

dental hygienist demonstrating how to brush teeth on a model mouth

Brushing our teeth is second nature to us, as we do it every day without giving it much thought. But did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to brush your teeth? Read on to find out if you’re doing it correctly and getting the most out of this daily ritual — without upending your life!

Step-By-Step Instructions

Manual Toothbrush

When brushing with a manual toothbrush, start by dispensing a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto your brush. Position it toward your gums at a 45°angle and move it in small, circular motions. This method helps eliminate bacteria that exist in the spaces between your teeth and gums by sweeping them away from the gumline, and it removes germ-laden film that develops on your teeth.

Start by brushing along your inner teeth, near your tongue, then move to the top/chewing surface, and, finally, your outer teeth near your cheek. Brush while focusing on two teeth at a time for a more thorough cleaning.

Don’t forget to brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue to help remove odor-causing bacteria. When finished, rinse your toothbrush and let it air dry. You can also clean your brush by placing it in your dishwasher and setting it to the Sani-Rinse option if that feature is available.

Electric Toothbrush

Like manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes also require just pea-sized amounts of toothpaste for brushing. Beyond that, you should follow the manufacturer’s user recommendations. Most brands, however, suggest guiding the brush slowly across your teeth, from side to side, pointing it toward your gums at a 45°angle as you allow it to do the work for you.

Many electric toothbrush brands also advise that you visually divide your mouth into four sections and brush each section for 30 seconds. As for cleaning your electric brush, some of them come equipped with UV sanitizers so you can clean them daily.

Teeth Brushing Demonstration

Watch Natalie, one of our dental hygienists, demonstrate how to brush your teeth with a manual or an electric toothbrush.

How Can I Get the Most Out of Brushing My Teeth?

Although it’s important to develop the proper brushing technique to achieve those pearly whites, there’s a lot of simple things you can do to get the most out of brushing.  You’ll want to read our blog post on tips on brushing your teeth to get an even brighter smile.



Whether using a manual or an electric toothbrush, know that the right angle, motion, and direction make a significant difference between brushing adequately and optimally. The above techniques are simple, but they go a long way in cleaning your teeth — and your entire mouth — properly.