A mother and daughter showing off the proper techniques for brushing your teeth.

Techniques for Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth plays a key role maintaining oral health by removing dental plaque and biofilm. Bacteria populates the surfaces of our teeth all the time. As time goes by, a single bacterium adhering to a tooth’s surface will create colonies that mature into a harmful population. This creates gum inflammation resulting in gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis.

What Is the Best Way to Achieve That Fresh Feeling of Smooth Teeth?

There are three different aspects that must be considered when trying to achieve that goal:

  1. Techniques to brushing your teeth
  2. Tools used to clean teeth (toothbrush, interproximal cleaners e.g. dental floss)
  3. Time spend cleaning your teeth

The techniques for brushing your teeth is one aspect that is often the most important in oral hygiene habits. However, one technique does not serve all. It depends on the present oral disease and vulnerability of the patient to gum disease. Techniques should be evaluated, reviewed in every hygiene visit by a dental professional and modified as needed to achieve optimal results.

The Techniques We Review for Brushing Your Teeth

There are four techniques recognized for brushing your teeth. These techniques are designed for manual toothbrush use.

  1. Horizontal Reciprocating Motion – The toothbrush is placed on either the left or right side of your teeth. The brush is moved back and forth along the side to the back and towards the front region.
  2. Vibratory Motion Technique – This technique uses small vibrating movements along all teeth surfaces.
  3. Bass Method – This is one of most effective techniques. The bristles are placed directly at a 45-degree angle to the tooth’s surface or place parallel to the tooth surface. Next, the patient presses the bristles slightly so that they enter the gum line and vibrate the brush back and forth. This is repeated for about 10-15 strokes for each position and the patient moves on to the next to the teeth.
  4. Stillman Brushing Technique – This technique is similar to bass technique. The difference is that it is performed with occlusal movements and short horizontal strokes. The bristles are also directed at a 45-degree angle towards gum line. Next, they are placed partly over cervical part of the tooth and partly on adjacent gingival.

It is best to ask your hygienist or doctor to review whether you can improve your technique. Check back on our next blog next week when we talk about the different types of oral hygiene tools that can be used at home to help you preserve your teeth.


  • 630 5th Avenue, Suite 1860
  • New York, NY 10111
  • (212) 765-7340
Manhattan Appointments Rockefeller Gallery


  • 196 Belle Meade Road, Suite 6
  • East Setauket, NY 11733
  • (631) 246-8080
Setauket Appointments Setauket Gallery