The ADA recommends changing your toothbrush
every 3-4 months, so make a resolution to change
your toothbrush with every season this year.
Frayed and broken bristles won’t keep your teeth
clean—these are signs it’s time to let go. When
you’re shopping, look for one with the ADA Seal
Not Brushing Long Enough
Speed demons, listen up! Your teeth should be
brushed for a full two minutes, twice per day.
Most of us fall short —the average time most
people spend brushing is 45 seconds. If you’re
racing through cleaning, try setting a timer.
Or distract yourself by humming your favorite tune!
Brushing Too Hard
Be gentle with your teeth. You may think
brushing harder will remove more leftover
food and the bacteria that loves to eat it, but
a gentle brushing is all that’s needed. Too much
pressure may damage your gums.
Brushing Right After Eating
If you feel the need to clean your teeth after
eating or drinking, wait at least 60 minutes
before brushing—especially if you have had
something acidic like lemons, grapefruit or soda.
Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA
Seal of Acceptance to help clean your mouth
while you are waiting to brush.
Storing Your Brush Improperly
When you’re done brushing, keep your toothbrush
upright and let it air dry in the open. Avoid keeping
your toothbrush in a closed container,
where germs have more opportunity to grow.
Using a Brush with Hard Bristles
Soft bristles are a safe bet. And be mindful to
be gentle, especially where your gums and
teeth meet, as you brush. Talk to your
dentist about what kind of toothbrush is best for
Improper Brushing Technique
Here's one technique to try for a thorough
brush: First, place your toothbrush at a
45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently
move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide)
strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the
inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the
teeth. Finally, To clean the inside surfaces of
the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and
make several up-and-down strokes.
Using a Brush That's Not the Best Fit for You
There are many toothbrushes that can leave your
teeth fresh and clean, including manual and
power brushes that carry the ADA Seal of
Acceptance. Both get the job done. Try different
types until you find one you're comfortable with.
For example, a power brush can be easier to
hold and does some of the work for you if you
have trouble brushing. No matter which you
choose remember that it's not all about the
brush—a clean mouth is really up to the brusher!