Experts Give Conflicting Advice About How To Brush Teeth

July 14, 2017 by Dr David Bloom


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Guidance given in dental textbooks clashes with that given by dental associations.

Clean Teeth for a Perfect SmileNew research published in the British Dental Journal suggests that the advice given to us by dental associations and experts on the best way to brush our teeth is “unacceptably inconsistent”.

The study by UCL examined the advice given by dental associations across ten countries, as well as information provided by toothpaste companies and in dental textbooks.

The findings revealed a “worrying” lack of consensus about advice such as how long to brush for and which toothpaste to use.


Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) and senior author of the study, expressed her concerns about the results: “The public needs to have sound information on the best method to brush their teeth […] if people hear one thing from a dental association, another from a toothbrush company and something else from their dentist, no wonder they are confused about how to brush.”

Sheiham also points out that there is “no evidence to suggest that complicated techniques are any better than a simple gentle scrub.”

Brushing Techniques

Although the most commonly recommended technique for good oral healthcare involves gently jiggling the brush back and forth in small motions, to shake away any food particles, plaque and bacteria, there are no significant studies that prove this method is any more effective than basic scrubbing.

The findings highlight the need for more research into the effectiveness of various brushing methods.

Hopefully, further research will rectify this as quickly as possible.

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Medically Reviewed By:

Dr David Bloom

Reviewed by Dr David Bloom


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