If you don’t know the best way to brush, you’re not likely to receive much help from the experts. Toothpaste and toothbrush manufacturers and dental associations don’t seem to agree on what constitutes the best way to brush, and the advice they provide consumers is “unacceptably inconsistent,” reports the findings of a new study.
Researchers at University College London took a look at the recommended brushing techniques suggested by toothbrush and toothpaste manufacturers, dental textbooks, and dental associations from 10 countries. Researchers discovered a wide variety of recommendations on the best brushing practices, how often an individual should brush and for how long, according to the study that was recently published in the British Dental Journal.
Researchers feel that such an inconsistent messaging regarding proper oral care undermines the public’s health as a whole. When individuals hear conflicting advice from health professionals and oral health product manufacturers about the best way to brush, it can become confusing and they can begin to develop poor oral health habits as a result. The study found the recommendations to be what researchers described as “unacceptably inconsistent.”
Dental associations need to make a better effort at staying consistent with the recommendations they dispense, advocated the study’s findings. Researchers were concerned when they discovered that some of the recommendations for brushing offered by dental associations contradicted what was published in many dental textbooks. No evidence exists that suggest more complicated brushing techniques better clean an individual’s teeth, which makes the varying recommendations so confusing.
The study determined the most frequently recommended way to brush was for patients to gently move the toothbrush back and forth in tiny circular motions in order to remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles. However, no evidence supports this technique works any better than using just a basic scrubbing motion.
Rather than focus on technique, researchers suggest focusing more on thoroughly cleaning every quadrant of the mouth, both back and front of the teeth. Make sure to use a brush that comfortably fits in your mouth, and that has a handle that’s easy to grip. If you have any other questions about how to brush, make sure to ask Drs. Jarvis or Goldwyn during your next appointment.