Proper daily hygiene is a given until something like COVID-19 prompts thousands of people to question their hand-washing technique. Are other assumed practices performed properly? last April pointed out that most people do not brush their teeth long enough or correctly.

The American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy proper brushing technique involves four steps:
1. Place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
2. Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
3. Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
4. Tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth.

Ideally, brushing should take around two minutes in order to greatly reduce plaque build-up, asserted

Also, mouth and toothbrush should be rinsed thoroughly after each brushing.

“Store your toothbrush in an upright position,” offered “If your partner, roommate or family members store their toothbrushes in the same place, make sure toothbrushes don’t touch each other. Let your toothbrush air-dry instead of storing it in a closed toothbrush holder.”

An illustrated, printable “How to Brush” poster is available at

ADA’s additional recommendations to ensure adequate dental health include:  
• Plan to brush at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and just before bedtime.
• Use a toothbrush that is not too large or too small; it should be able to adequately reach all areas of the mouth and the bristles should cover the teeth to loosen and remove food and plaque.
• Use a new toothbrush every three to four months. A toothbrush with frayed bristles will not thoroughly clean teeth.  
• Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
• Schedule dental appointments at least twice annually to prevent and/or treat oral disease.