Proper Brushing Technique Image

There are many age old questions in households with young children. One that strikes a chord every day is how long does it take to brush your teeth? 30 seconds, a minute, an hour???


Dr. Babik recommends that you teach your child to brush for 2 minutes. Although, Dr. Babik also recommends that you teach your child proper technique, as using the proper technique is much more important than just simply brushing for 2 minutes. Dr. Babik tells parents every day to set an example for their children. When they are little, Dr. Babik recommends that parents help the child, and insure they are learning the proper technique. Once they have demonstrated that they can do it on their own, Dr. Babik still recommends following up and supervising them until they demonstrate competence. Further, Dr. Babik stresses the point that it does not matter how long your child brushes their teeth, if they are doing it wrong!


 Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums. The proper technique is as follows:

1. Place bristles along the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
2. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth using a vibrating back & forth rolling motion. A rolling motion is when the brush makes contact with the gumline and is moved downward toward the chewing surface. Move brush to the next group of two to three teeth and repeat.
3. Maintain a 45-degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.
4. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.
5. Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth & use a gentle back & forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.
–Illustrations adapted by and used courtesy of the John O. Butler Company–



Dr. Babik also tells children to remember to replace their toothbrush every three to four months. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless, but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.