Not uncommon in families is to remind children to brush their teeth properly, but do we all know what that is – and do we do it ourselves?

Brushing your teeth is important for general oral health, as well as keeping your smile free of staining. But it can also give you a good idea of when something is wrong, if you know you keep your teeth healthy but there’s blood or aches appearing.

One of the main keys to brushing teeth properly is time. Spend at least two full minutes brushing your teeth, and focus on it. Use a mirror if you have to! And spend a good amount of time on each tooth, more on wisdom teeth if you have them, as they’re at greater risk of infection. Dedicating time to each tooth means giving it a good scrub front, back, at the edges and the gum line, even if it’s a bit sore at first. A good toothbrush will have bristles that get between the teeth with appropriate pressure, for those who are uncomfortable with flossing. Electronic toothbrushes are not necessarily any better – if you know how to brush your teeth right. They give a rotating motion to imitate a good level of scrubbing, as opposed to the casual one-direction brush most people settle for. But they still need to be given direction and pressure, so it’s time to learn that technique! Let’s break it down:

Take your time. Apply pressure, and brush in all directions. Make circular motions on each tooth individually, front and back. Pay attention to the sides of your teeth. Give more care to vulnerable areas: wisdom teeth, gums, and any implants or missing teeth. Get in between teeth with the bristles.

And use good toothpaste; you can follow a dentist’s recommendations. Be sure to put enough on the brush to hide the bristles (but don’t overdo it!) and, if you spit during brushing your teeth and are down to only water, this isn’t a sign to stop – reload paste on brush.

You don’t need to splash out on an expensive toothbrush or fancy branded toothpaste, and you won’t need to pay for a hygienist if you can master give that firm scrub to all your teeth!