What Is The Correct Way To Brush Your Teeth? My Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

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In this post, you are going to learn about what is the correct way to brush your teeth.

This post will cover

How You Learnt to Brush Your Teeth from Young

Why You Must Brush Your Teeth?

What Tools Do We Have To Brush Your Teeth?

What Is The Correct Way To Brush Your Teeth?

So if you want to learn the correct way to brush your teeth, and hopefully keep them for life, you will love this post.

Let’s dive right in.

How You Learnt to Brush Your Teeth from Young

Tooth brushing…

What can be so difficult right?What is the Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth?

Just whip out a toothbrush, put some toothpaste, stick it into the mouth and swish left and right.

Rinse with some water, spit it out and job done.

Simple right?

Just imagine, if everybody has been brushing their teeth the correct way, how come 50% of adults in The United States aged 30 and over suffer from some kind of advanced gum diseases.

This is despite the common sense of toothbrushing that has been taught to most of us since young.

I remember from my childhood days (I’m in the 40s by the way) during primary school years, toothbrushing was done by class level.

During recess time, we would gather after eating with our mug, toothpaste, and toothbrush.

We would then line up, squat at the drain, and do communal brushing.

How fun was that?

Maybe those days the government wanted to promote toothbrushing in young children, and we were the guinea pigs?

But I was definitely happy when I won a consolation prize for my own set of teeth, in a Teeth Competition!

The dentist must have quite impressed with my teeth!

What is The Correct Way to Brush Your Teeh?
So what was your memory of your first learning to brush your teeth?

So through the years, I continued brushing the same way that I was taught, and that was basically left-to-right scrubbing.

Only in recent years that I got married, then I chanced upon the Bass Toothbrushing method.

So after that, I incorporated what works for me in my routine brushing, and have come out a method that is easy to follow no matter where you are from.

Learning my current method to brush your teeth is very easy and I will walk you through every step of the way.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Why We Must Brush Our Teeth?

Brushing helps to keep your teeth clean and white because it helps to get rid of food stuck in your teeth and the acids on your teeth surfaces.

Doing it twice a day is good practice as it helps to discourage the bacteria from staying too long in your mouth

Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria combining with the sugars in your food.

The acids produced then mix together with the bacteria to produce a sticky yellowish substance called plaque.

Unremoved plaque becomes tartar and soon you will have holes of the cavity in your mouth.

Brushing in the morning helps to get rid of “morning breath” which happens because of low saliva in the night when you are sleeping.

You should brush first thing in the morning AFTER you wake up, and BEFORE you eat your breakfast.

Brushing your teeth also gives you fresh breath and confidence to start the day. Brushing at night before you sleep, gives your mouth a clean environment with low bacteria.

What Tools Do We Have To Brush Your Teeth?

Before I go into the steps of brushing your teeth, let’s look at the tools that you will need.

1. Toothbrush

A toothbrush needs to have soft bristles and widely spaced. Too hard bristles will be harsh on the gums, and too soft bristles will not go well in cleaning off the stains on your teeth.

Related post: My #1 Recommended Toothbrush

Should you use an electric toothbrush?

An electric toothbrush is considered a good choice because of its wide variety of benefits.

  • The Oscillating and Rotation movement works hard in hard to remove the plaque more effectively, some like 100%.
  • They usually come in 2-minute timers and some come with a quad timer that times your brushing in 4 quadrants of your teeth.
  • The 4 quadrants are the Upper and Lower Right Quadrant, and the Upper and Lower Left Quadrant.

The reason electric toothbrushes are excellent because they almost do half the job for you.

You only need to tilt the toothbrush and gently placed on the surfaces to let the toothbrush do the buffing of your teeth one by one. What Is The Correct Way To Brush Your Teeth?

Related post: Best Electric Toothbrushes Consumer Report 2020

One good suggestion if you want to reap the benefits of both type toothbrushes is to use the manual toothbrush in the morning and use an electric toothbrush at night.

Always remember to replace your toothbrush every 3 months.

You can also observe if the bristles are fraying even before the 3 months period is up, .

The toothbrush should not be too big because you need to manipulate it to reach different areas of your mouth.

You need to be able to hold and manipulate the handle.

Just like when playing badminton or tennis, you need to change your grip to handle the different ways of swapping the ball to and fro your opponent.

Also, it must fit comfortably in your hand and have a head small enough to easily reach all of your teeth, especially the ones at the back.

If you have difficulty fitting the toothbrush into your mouth, it is probably too big.

I have a relatively small mouth so I cannot choose a toothbrush with a big head. .

After brushing, you must rinse out in between the bristles of the toothbrushes, as sometimes toothpaste can be trapped in between on the base of the bristles,

This will harden at the bottom of your toothbrush, and you don’t want to stick that toothbrush in your mouth.

One thing to remember is to put it upright to air dry, I put mine upright in a cup, and ensure the bathroom is well ventilated, or put it where the sun can come in.

You can also design or buy some nice toothbrush holders to put the toothbrushes upright.What is the Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth?


Related post: Best Toothbrushes for Adults

2. Toothpaste

When it comes to toothpaste, sometimes less is more.

Children below 3 years old only need a rice grain size of fluoride toothpaste.

Children 3 to 6 years can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Adults should only use a pea size too of toothpaste that contains at least 1,350 parts per million (ppm) fluoride.

Adults tend to fill the whole bristles with toothpaste, thinking that the more toothpaste I have, it will clean better.

You can always see the visuals in toothpaste commercials that have their whole length of bristles filled with a long white row of toothpaste.

Try limiting the amount of toothpaste needed (your toothpaste can last longer) and instead focus on the correct technique.

Related post: Best Toothpaste for Adults 2020

3. Floss

To properly clean teeth, be sure to consider including flossing in your routine.

Dentists cannot stress how important flossing is to get rid of food particles and plaque in between teeth.

You see, teeth have 5 surfaces, front, back, and top which are reachable by your toothbrush.

Only the 2 sides are clenched with other teeth.

So you need to use a waxed floss to remove the plaque stuck in between.

Never use toothpicks to remove trapped food from between your teeth as you may damage your gums, which could lead to an infection.

Sometimes you can have luck using the tip of your tongue to dislodge pieces of food stuck.

Related post: What is the Best Floss For teeth?

4. Mouthwash

You can either choose to use a mouthwash or not in your toothbrush.

However, it is not advised to use it when you already have toothpaste in your mouth. It can go against the benefits the fluoride is trying to give to your teeth.

The purpose of mouthwash is to reduce the bacteria in your mouth, because of the ingredient of alcohol it can kill germs and bacteria.

Mouthwash should never replace the proper brushing.

You can choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch.

Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.

Related post: What is a Good Mouthwash?

What Is The Correct Way To Brush Your Teeth?

Why is a good technique important?

Good techniques of tooth brushing will help to keep your teeth clean and squeaky while the wrong ones can send your bacteria in your mouth to different parts of your teeth.

There are many versions on the webs and from the dentist, but the most common ones will be the bass toothbrushing technique. Others include back-and-forth, up-and-down, but each has its own cons.

Using a back-and-forth sawing motion causes the gums to recede and can expose the root of the teeth, making teeth extremely sensitive.

Here Is My Step-by-Step On How To Brush Your Teeth

1. First wet your toothbrush, so that it is moist, and put a pea size toothpaste on it.

Take a rinse of water so as to get your mouth wet and start brushing.

Work First at the External Surfaces on Upper and Lower Teeth

2. Work on your teeth systematically. Start with your UPPER LEFT TEETH. 

What is the Correct Way to Brush Your teeth?

3. For every tooth, angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees to the gum line.

If it is upper teeth, the bristles will point 45 degrees upwards angling at the gum line.

The gum line is where the teeth come out from the gums. Germs like to hide there.

4. Then do wriggly circular motions at the gum line, count to 5, then brush downwards.

This helps to push the bacteria down-and-out from the teeth.

5. Then move from the Upper Left Teeth to the FRONT UPPER TEETH, position your toothbrush almost parallel to the floor. Again, the same action, wriggle, and brush down.

6. Moving from the Front Upper Teeth to your UPPER RIGHT TEETH, turn your toothbrush around and enter the right side of your mouth to reach the external surfaces of the right molars.

7. Then I will brush from the front (right side) molars to the back molars. You can start from the back to the front molars whichever you prefer as long as you cover all your molars.

8. Once I am done with the Upper layers, I will then move down to the LOWER LEFT TEETH.

Angle the toothbrush 45 degrees pointing upwards at the gum line. Repeat the wriggly circular motion, count to 5, and brush upwards.

9. Move to FRONT LOWER TEETH, remember to brush upwards.

10. Again turn the toothbrush so that the head of the toothbrush go into my LOWER RIGHT TEETH. Repeat at the molars..

11. The external surfaces are done!

Hang on!

Move To Inner Surfaces, also called Tongue Side

12. Open your mouth bigger so that your toothbrush can go to UPPER LEFT INNER TEETH.

Turn the toothbrush upside down so that the bristles are facing up.

Angle at 45 degrees to the gum line and repeat the wriggly circular motion and brush downwards.

By now, you know the drill.

13. Move to the FRONT INNER TEETH. 

Use the Heel of the toothbrush so that it is parallel to the floor.

Use the heel of the toothbrush and brush outwards since it is hard to brush downwards.

14. Turn your toothbrush and go into the UPPER RIGHT INNER TEETH. 

Use the head of the toothbrush bristles to do the wriggling action, its easier and then brush downwards.

15  For the LOWER LEFT INNER TEETH, use the same technique of 45 degrees, repeat the wriggly action and brush upwards.

16. Move to FRONT INNER TEETH, use the heel of the bristles and brush outwards, like how I did for Front Upper Inner Teeth (Step 13)

17. Finish up the LOWER RIGHT INNER TEETH side. 

Almost done!

Here comes the easy part, the molars also known as biting surfaces.

Brushing the Biting Surfaces


18. This is the easiest!

Just brush to-and-fro on your UPPER LEFT, UPPER RIGHT, LOWER LEFT and finally LOWER RIGHT.

19. Then brush your tongue using the bristles.

Just stretch out your tongue, and run your bristles from back to front a few times.

You can alternate between using a toothbrush and Tongue Scraper. Both are fine.

20. Important tip! 

Most people can’t wait to get everything rinsed out and ready to go, but there is this one more important step.

When your mouth is full of the fluoride in the toothpaste, it is such a waste to immediately rinsed out.

You can throw the goodness of the fluoride without waiting for it to work on your teeth surfaces.

Actually fluoride particles need to get inside the tiny pores of your teeth.

So don’t rush to spit out.

21. So while waiting for the toothpaste to work, why not wash your face?

Just remember to close your mouth!

Or wash your toothbrush properly. Don’t let toothpaste get stuck at the bristles!

22. After washing your face, then rinse out with clean water.


You have completed a complete brushing of your teeth using the Bass Toothbrushing Technique.

How many minutes did you take?

Easily more than 2 minutes!

It is very simple to follow, and soon, you will see your teeth being white and clean.


What is the Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth?





How To Brush Your Teeth With An Electric Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush head is slightly different since the brush head rotates or vibrates on its own. You need not do the “brushing up or down after each wriggly action”.

You can use the same method as shared above. It is okay to use the electric toothbrush for cleaning your tongue too.

Just remember, with an electric toothbrush, you just need to apply light pressure and move like how you would do a manual toothbrush.

Tips On Brushing Your Teeth

1. Remember to replace your toothbrush every 3 months. If the bristles get worn out, then you can replace them earlier.

Too many toothbrushes lying around?

Read this post on the different ways to use an old toothbrush.

Never share toothbrushes with anyone just like you would not share a bath or face towel.  What is the Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth?

2. Hold the toothbrush like you do a violin, gently.

There is no need to grip right, as you may then exert too much strength which you may accidentally rub against your gums.

3. Brush gently.

Do not swallow your toothpaste as they will contain harmful chemicals and your stomach will have discomforts.

4. If you notice bleeding when brushing, do not be alarmed!

It is your body healing.

With correct brushing, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

If not, please consult your dentist as this may be a sign of advanced gum disease.

5. If you want to drink sodas or eat sugary snacks, eat them straight after a meal.

Rinse with water for about 30 seconds.

Do not be in a hurry to brush as the acids are working at your tooth surfaces.

This is the moment when your enamel is at its weakest.

Give it some 30 minutes to rebuild and “close up” the pores if you wish to brush your teeth.


Are There Ways To Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Using Toothbrush For Your Brushing?

If for certain reasons you do not have access to a toothbrush, or you ran out of a toothbrush, how can you keep your teeth clean?

1. Chewing gums is good if you have some on hand.

The sugarless type.

They can stimulate saliva production and wash your teeth.

2. Use Oil Pulling.

Oil Pulling uses oils like coconut oil or sesame oil to pull out the bacteria in between the gaps of your teeth.

It is a popular method used for many generations.

Do it first thing in the morning.

Read: Coconut Oil and Gum Disease

3. Use Activated Charcoal Products

Activated Charcoal is an active ingredient used in some toothpaste. It is very popular in Japan.

4. Use Baking Soda

Use baking soda and make a paste out of water.

Simply rub on your teeth and rinse off.


Toothbrushing should be an easy task for everybody.

So to those that are already brushing properly, I am so happy for you for taking steps to take great care of your teeth.

For those who are struggling with gum disease, or teeth decay, or even other conditions like bad breath, yellow teeth, making a small change of dental habits like brushing your teeth can improve them vastly.

I have listed my personal guide of how I did my toothbrushing and so far, I am very happy with the results.

If you like my guide, can you do me a favour?

Share to your friends and whoever needs to learn this.

Or leave me a comment below. I sure love to hear from you!


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4 thoughts on “What Is The Correct Way To Brush Your Teeth? My Detailed Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. I am so going to try out this Bass toothbrushing technique tonight! Since young, I have been brushing my teeth in up and down motion. And I do have weak gums now… sob sob. My first toothbrushing memories are the same as yours! Squatting in a line at the drain outside my primary school classroom, haha. Those were actually quite fun times.

    And yes, you’re so right that flossing has to be part of our teeth cleaning routine. It is something I have to work harder at.

    Thanks for yet another awesome article! It has educated me lots.

    • Yes Joo,

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of childhood brushing teeth!

      Have Fun with the bass toothbrushing method!

      Do ensure that the bristles of your toothbrush are at least soft so that they will not hurt your gums.

      Another great thing would be if your bristles are spaced slightly apart, meaning the toothbrush should have lesser bristles.
      Normal toothbrushes have too crowded bristles that they just smash altogether.

      That is why I love my bass toothbrushes so much! The bristles are soft and they are spaced further apart, allowing for comfortable jiggly actions.


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