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How to Clean Your Teeth Properly

15th September 2015

When I was a young child growing up, I wasn’t taught how to clean my teeth correctly – even though my own grandfather was a dentist! In fact, it wasn’t until my first year at dental school that I was finally taught how to properly clean my own teeth.

The proper method of cleaning:

Most people know that proper cleaning involves both brushing and flossing your teeth. However proper cleaning is as much how you do it, as it is what you do.
Correct tooth brushing and flossing are very technical, fiddly tasks – made even harder because we do them while looking at ourselves backwards in the bathroom mirror!  

In light of my own experience, I’d like to share my thoughts on how to clean your teeth correctly. I hope that the following tips help you to clean your teeth more effectively and keep you smiling brightly.


When it comes to tooth brushing, I strongly recommend using electric toothbrushes.
Electric toothbrushes are easy to use, and more effectively clean the ‘hard to reach’ places – giving you a better clean.

It's Science! 

Scientific studies have found that in the vast majority of cases, electric toothbrushes remove more plaque and reduce gum inflammation (gingivitis) more effectively than manual toothbrushes.

Of course, with the right technique and disciplined effort, you can still clean your teeth well with a manual toothbrush. However, why not make things easier for yourself? There are many great, reliable electric toothbrush brands available at The Shaver Shop and major department stores.

At Dentists of Hawthorn, we don’t sell electric toothbrushes, as you can often find retail sales for them at cheaper prices than the suppliers will sell them to us.
However Oral B are currently offering up to 40% off their electric toothbrush range when you mention our practice – see powerbrushstore.com.au

(Please note that we do not receive any kickbacks from Oral B.)

It's 'How' You Use it

When using your electric toothbrush, I recommend pointing the brush head at the gum-line and holding it against each tooth for two seconds before moving on.
Remember to do this for both the outside and inside of the tooth. This technique is effective and only takes about 2 minutes to clean all your teeth thoroughly!

When using a manual toothbrush, the same technique can be used, however you will also need to make small circular motions with the brush.

See more in this video: How To Brush Your Teeth with an Electric Toothbrush

Cleaning between your teeth

If brushing your teeth is all you do, you are only cleaning around 60% of your teeth.  This is because there is plenty of space between your teeth where food gets stuck – and these areas need thorough cleaning as well!  


Floss is an effective (albeit sometimes fiddly) method to thoroughly clean between your teeth. Flossing helps to prevent cavities from forming between your teeth, as well as keeping your gums disease-free. When flossing, I recommend that you wrap floss around each tooth to ‘wipe’ the sides of each tooth. This technique will remove the majority of food and plaque from between your teeth.

See more in this video: How To Floss Your Teeth

Interdental Brushes
In certain areas of your teeth, you may find larger spaces which floss doesn’t clean as well. For these spaces, I recommend using Interdental Brushes to clean effectively.  These tools are especially useful if you have braces, implants, bridges or larger spaces between your teeth.

See more in this video: How To Use An Interdental Brush

Using the tools and techniques explained above will ensure you keep your teeth as clean as possible, and avoid more serious dental issues down the track. 

Keep up the good work!

~ Dr Aaron Wong
Dentists of Hawthorn

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