The Basics of Brushing your Teeth

Girl Biting ToothbrushMany of us have the intention of maintaining good oral hygiene habits between dental checkups. Turning the idea of consistent brushing and flossing into an actual habit that you practice is another thing, entirely. Tending to your teeth at least twice a day is one hurdle, but it is also important to make sure you’re doing a good job each time you brush. Des Moines, IA dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds, wants to help you brush up on the basics of good oral hygiene.

Should I Use a Manual or Electric Toothbrush?

Toothbrush choice can be as subjective as analyzing art at a museum. There are so many choices available at your local drugstore. When in doubt, running a brand by Dr. Burds is always a good idea. The first thing to consider, however, is whether you prefer a manual or electric toothbrush.


For someone with strong hands and endurance, a manual toothbrush is as effective as an electric toothbrush, and in most cases, will save you money. The problem with manual toothbrushes really boils down to making sure you brush long and strong enough. Without the help of battery power, you may find two minutes of proper brushing with a manual toothbrush goes by very slowly, and can lead to hand fatigue. When something is challenging or unpleasant, avoidance is a natural reaction.


Quite a number of types of electric toothbrushes are available. Prices and quality can vary, so do your research and discuss brands with Dr. Burds. Some electric toothbrushes are equipped with timers that will tell you when to move to a different quadrant of the mouth. If spending a little more on your oral hygiene products works for you, an electric toothbrush can help bring an ease to your oral hygiene regimen. When something is easier, you are more likely to stick to the routine.

When, How Often, and How Long to Brush Your Teeth?

Thirty seconds of brushing for each of the four quadrants of teeth, or two minutes total, is a good rule of thumb when timing your tooth brushing. At least twice-a-day for brushing, and once a day for flossing, is recommended. Ideal timing would be after breakfast and before bed, but if you eat sugary foods throughout the day, additional brushing and flossing, within reason, are a great idea.

Visit your Des Moines, IA Dentist

Visit our website or contact our office at (515) 244-9565. We are currently accepting new patients and are proud to serve the residents of River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring Des Moines communities.