Chapter 6- How to clean your teeth

Caries [tooth decay] is completely preventable.

Gum disease is to a large extent preventable but some people [ 10.8% of the world’s population] are genetically predisposed to gum disease [see no 5].

Both of this diseases are caused by PLAQUE.

This is the sticky white stuff found all over your teeth. It is composed mainly of food debris and bacteria these bacteria live in your mouth normally.



The best way to deal with any disease is to stop it happening in the first place-



You aim to keep your teeth for life, and so you have two objectives-

1- To learn all about their health and welfare.                                                                                        2- To teach yourself how to care for them properly.

Your dental team is there to help and teach you how to do this- IF YOU WISH.


The aim of effective tooth brushing is to get all of the plaque of all the surfaces of your teeth effectively and efficiently without damaging your teeth.

I think this is a fair enough statement, you wouldn’t clean your cream leather sofa with a scouring pad!

Brush your teeth twice a day. Last thing at night and at one other time.

To remove the plaque effectively and efficiently you need-

A good quality toothbrush.

A mirror you can see in to.

Your glasses, if you need them for reading.

Toothpaste with the right ingredients.



A manual toothbrush needs the following features- a short head, dense fibers, medium strength.

You can do your weekly wash perfectly well by hand but a washing machine takes all the hard work out of it!

Same with an electric tooth brush, preferably with a round head because it’s the same shape as your tooth. You don’t need an expensive model the basic one without the gadgets is fine, the important thing is to use it correctly.

But really whatever I feel is right doesn’t matter, use the model you prefer as long as you don’t lose sight of the end goal which is to get the plaque off your teeth effectively and efficiently without damaging your teeth [see no 8].


2 minutes is the minimum, teeth, like children, plants and animals need your time and more importantly your attention.

Spit your toothpaste out but don’t rinse it off.

Why? So you leave a little film of fluoride on your teeth to toughen up your enamel.

What action to use.

Place your tooth brush on the gum margin, the bit where your gum meets your tooth, point the bristles down towards your toes on the bottom jaw and up towards your nose on the top jaw.

Don’t scrub your teeth from side to side or you will wear groves in them and make them sensitive, don’t scrub up and down or you will make your gums recede.

Clean in little tiny circles for a count of ten secs [count elephants] if using round headed electric toothbrush hold it on each tooth and count to 3 secs, you don’t have to move it, it does it all for you, just hold it there.

Do every area of your mouth methodically. So nowhere is missed out. Every surface is as important as every other.

If you want to watch a little YouTube video I have looked at lots on your behalf and the best one I think is called ‘How to brush and look after your teeth properly’ by Jon the Dentist. A Sheffield qualified dentist called Dr Jon Cowie [there are 2 the other one is an endodontist] Not gimmicky, not irritating, very straightforward.


In a toothpaste there are basically four ingredients- a foaming detergent- ‘cause we like bubbles, a mild abrasive to keep the stains off your teeth, perhaps an ingredient for a special purpose such as sensitivity and most importantly fluoride. It’s not the toothpaste that cleans your teeth it’s the bristles of the toothbrush, when your toothbrush looks like a floor mop you need a new one. About every 3 months.

The most important ingredient in your toothpaste is fluoride in the right concentration 1,300-1,500ppm [parts per million] for an adult [see below for different doses for kids].

Read the back of the packet or you can look up practically any toothpaste you can think of on ‘Delivering better oral health- an evidence based toolkit for prevention’ published by Public Health England and it will tell you it’s fluoride concentration.

The correct concentration is required for each age group.

Up to 3 years of age- a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm [parts per million] fluoride. Supervised brushing by an adult for 2 mins. Spit don’t rinse.

3-6 years of age- a pea sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1,000 ppm fluoride. Supervised brushing by an adult for 2 mins. Spit, don’t rinse.

7 years upwards- A toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500 ppm. Brush for at least 2 mins. Spit don’t rinse.

Fluoride prevents, controls and arrests [stops] caries [tooth decay].

Two minutes, twice a day, spit don’t rinse!

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