When it comes to brushing teeth, the only part of the brush that actually does the cleaning are the bristle tips! Brushing your teeth in a scrubbing motion can be extremely harmful. This, in combination with abrasive toothpastes over the years, can result in brushing tooth/root structure away, leaving you with “sensitive notches” by the gum line.
Recommended technique: ‘PARK’ your toothbrush over the covered teeth and angle the brush toward the gum line (35 to 45 degrees) and brush in a gentle circular motion/cleaning action for five or more rotations before moving to the next teeth that the brush will cover. The only additional motion you should be doing is to gently rock the brush head around the contours of the teeth so that the bristles clean all the curves. Brush the inside of the teeth in the same manner. The top surfaces of the teeth can be scrubbed since there is no gum-tissue in these areas.
An EXTRA SOFT BRUSH is recommended so that the bristles easily contour around the teeth and gums without causing damage. When choosing a paste, best to use CAVITY PROTECTION ONLY, in other words, ‘fluoride only’ and no other ingredients like whiteners, baking soda or tartar control agents which can increase abrasion and sensitivity. When in doubt you can get a children’s paste that contains fluoride as they are very gentle and come in many flavors. Another option is to purchase a prescription toothpaste from your dentist specially designed to have low abrasion and superior tooth decay fighting properties than over-the-counter toothpastes.
Before brushing, drink water first so there is less friction of the toothpaste against dry teeth. Use only a pea size drop of paste at a time and start on any biting surface. These hints help to lessen the chance any one place gets the initial bead of paste, which also would increase abrasion. Even the recommended pastes when used improperly can increase gum recession and damage to your teeth. Toothpaste should be used sparingly.
Also consider using a fluoridated, antibacterial and alcohol-free mouthwash in place of any toothpaste (e.g., Listerine Total Care Zero). To do this, pour a small amount of the mouthwash into a container and dip the brush into it and brush, repeating dipping as needed. Then rinse for a full 30 seconds with the balance of the mouthwash in the container. Spit and DO NOT RINSE with water after to get the full benefits of the mouthrinse.
If you are given a prescription fluoride paste/gel to use, please follow the above recommendations along with any specific instructions given to you by your dentist or hygienist. Ideally, the prescription fluoride paste/gel should be applied daily to the teeth AFTER brushing and rinsing with mouthwash.