Proper brushing is essential for cleaning your teeth and gums. The secret? Using the right tools, the right technique and taking your time.

Here’s a quick review of how to brush your teeth properly:

The proper way to brush

Use the right tools

Toothpaste

Know the right type to use for healthy teeth.

  • Make sure it contains fluoride to help prevent cavities.
  • Always choose toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.
  • Be aware: toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth or control tartar can damage tooth enamel.

Toothbrush

The easier it is to use, the more likely you are to use it.

  • A good toothbrush is the right size for your mouth. Don’t get 1 with a large scrubbing surface if your mouth is small.
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush is best. Stiff bristles can damage tooth enamel, which can’t be replaced.
  • Electric vs. manual? Both are fine if used correctly, though electric toothbrushes may be easier for some people.

Use the right technique

Proper brushing makes all the difference.

  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Use short side-to-side strokes.
  • Gently brush all tooth surfaces including hard-to-reach areas like your back molars.
  • Brushing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel. If you use an electronic toothbrush, let it do the work.

Take your time

  • Brush at least twice a day.
  • Take at least 2–3 minutes to brush your entire mouth.
  • Change your toothbrush with the seasons (every 3–4 months).

Bonus tips in addition to brushing your teeth

Humana offers dental plans

If you’re looking for dental insurance, Humana can help. We offer a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.