How often should I be brushing my teeth?

The most important step in your own oral hygiene regimen is brushing. So, the question is, how often should I be brushing my teeth and what type of toothbrush should I use

Brushing two times a day, once in the morning and once before bed, will help maintain adequate oral health. Moreover, it is important to spend at least two minutes to brush your teeth. Therefore, at least 30 seconds can be spent on each quadrant of the mouth.  However, this does not mean you cant spend more than two minutes!

What type of toothbrush should I be using?

Most people have the connotation that harder bristled brushes are most effective. However, a softer bristled toothbrush can be very effective if used correctly. Moreover, a soft or medium bristled toothbrush helps prevent possible irritation that may occur with a heavier handed brusher.  Thus, if the bristles are more delicate, it decreases the possibilities of discomfort and irritated gums.

How should I be brushing my teeth?

There are many tips, techniques and modifications when it comes to your own hygiene. Brushing your teeth is very personal so it’s best to find what works for you!

The following, are a list of manual brushing techniques:


  • Rotary Brushing Technique: This is the easiest technique for kids. Place the bristles of the brush directly on to the tooth surface. Gently apply circular motions on a set of teeth 5-6 times then move to the next. Brush back and forth on the biting surfaces of the tooth.


  • Bass Method: This is the most effective brushing technique! To do this, place the bristles of your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards your gumline. Press the bristles of the brush slightly so they enter your gumline. Gently brush back and forth for about 10-15 strokes. Move to the next tooth.
  • Stillman Brushing Technique: This method is very similar to the one mentioned above. However, while you brush back and forth along the gumline, you wiggle the bristles down the tooth.
Stillman Brushing Technique and Modified Stillman Brushing Technique

To summarize,

  • How often to brush? Brush at least 2 times a day
  • Brush for at least 2 minutes each time
  • What type of toothbrush to use? Use a medium or soft bristled brush to minimize harm to the gums
  • Use a technique that works for you

Please see our other blog posts for more information on when a child should first see the dentist.

For more information please visit the Alberta Dental Association website.