Ask The Dentist: 'Should I Keep My Mouth Open or Close It Once I Have My Toothbrush Touching My Teeth?'

Thursday, April 19, 2018 | River Street Dental l Sponsored |


Mouth open or mouth closed? After lunch or after dinner? Flat or at an angle?

Christopher S Carroll DDS


We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a brush a get to work, right?

Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing those pearly whites.

The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works. We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.” What’s even correct these days?!

Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy do's and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Proper Brushing Habits

Don’t: Keep your brush flat

Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing


Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!

Do: Use short, side to side stroke


Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!

Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel.


Don’t: Go one and done

Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus or soda)


Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life

Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember: switch out on the first day of each season


Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds

Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.


Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container

Do: Let your toothbrush to air dry


Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it

Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet


Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush

Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel


Don’t: Think that opening your mouth while brushing is the only way to go.

Do: Make sure that your toothbrush bristles touch the gums, especially on your back teeth. This may mean closing your mouth a bit to get way back there!

Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!


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