Study Find No “Best Way” to Brush

By now, most people understand the best way to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums is to brush and floss daily. Brushing and flossing help remove harmful bacteria from the surface of your teeth and along the gum line that can cause the development of tooth decay and gum disease if left unchecked. However, if you’re looking for the best way to brush, you may hear a lot of conflicting information.

Dental associations and toothbrush and toothpaste companies don’t tend to agree on the best methods for brushing and their advice to consumers is “unacceptably inconsistent,” according to the results of a new study.

A Troubling Disagreement

As part of the study, researchers at the University College London examined and compared recommendations on brushing from dental associations located in 10 countries, dental textbooks, and toothbrush and toothpaste makers.

The study, which was printed in the British Dental Journal,  found a diverse range of recommendations on the best ways to brush, how often an individual should brush, and for how long. These findings highlight the need for more and better research on optimal brushing techniques, say researchers.

Researchers involved in the study are advocating for more study because the public needs more information on the best techniques to use while brushing. Researchers worry that if people hear one recommendation from a dental association, such as the ADA here in the U.S., read another on the back of a dental product, and a third from his or her dentist, they will become confused about how to brush. Researchers claim to have found convincing evidence of inconsistent and varying recommendations being given out from different sources.

Researchers hope that dental associations will become more consistent about what methods to recommend to patients about the best way to brush. Currently, researchers found that many dental associations recommend practices that are not the same as the best techniques for brushing listed in dental textbooks. Little evidence supports that complicated brushing techniques do any more to clean teeth than simple and gentle scrubbing.

The most commonly recommended brushing technique, according to the study, is the gentle jiggling of the toothbrush back and forth in small rotations in order to loosen food particles, bacteria, and plaque. However, no evidence suggests this technique any more effective than basic scrubbing, say researchers.

Effective Brushing

According to researchers, one of the most effective means of brushing to remove plaque is to use a gentle, horizontal brushing motion, with the brush held at a 45-degree angle. To keep from over-brushing, hold the brush using a pencil grip instead of a closed fist. This simple technique is perfectly effective at keeping gums health and tooth decay at bay, according to researchers.

If you have any questions about the best brushing techniques, feel free to ask the doctor during your next appointment at Tigard Family Dental, the best dentist in Tigard.

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