What's the best way to brush your teeth?

We learn to brush our teeth from a very young age, but does science have anything to say on the matter?

14th January 2015
What's the best way to brush your teeth? (Getty)

Asked by: Samuel Thompson, Manchester

A recent study by Prof Aubrey Sheiham and colleagues at University College London found an “unacceptably inconsistent array of advice” from dental associations, dentists and toothbrush companies.

Some dentists claim a side-to-side motion is fine, while others insist on different actions in different parts of the mouth. The most common advice is jiggling the brush back and forth. According to Sheiham, there’s no evidence any of these are better than just scrubbing. He recommends brushing from side to side, with the brush at a 45-degree angle and held lightly. He suggests focusing on where plaque is most likely to collect, which is biting surfaces and where teeth meet gums.


Get more fascinating Q&As from BBC Focus magazine by following @sciencefocusQA

You are currently reading: What's the best way to brush your teeth? - 14th January