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Keys to a Healthy Mouth Part 3 – How to Brush Like a Superstar

brush like a superstar
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 30 May, 2014

How to Brush Your Teeth Like a Superstar

If you want to have a healthy mouth then learn how to brush your teeth like a superstar.

Once you’ve mastered tooth brushing 101, it’s time to hone your skills and become a tooth brushing superstar. This is especially important if you are one of those people whose dentist or hygienist tells you “you brush too hard” or you have sensitive teeth and gums.

Brushing Like A Superstar

Brushing too hard or using a hard toothbrush will actually damage your teeth and gums. Imagine going to your local hardware store and picking up a piece of sandpaper then scrubbing your teeth with it. Exactly, you just wouldn’t would you? Well, that is essentially what you are doing if you brush too vigorously or use the wrong kind of brush – one that is too hard.

When you brush too hard day after day after day it starts to wear your enamel thin. This is called toothbrush abrasion.

When you start wearing the enamel thin the dentine layer inside the tooth becomes exposed. Dentine is not well insulated and is made up of tiny little tubes that run down to the nerve chamber inside the tooth, visualise a honeycomb and this will give you an idea of what dentine looks like.

These tubes signal the nerve that there is an issue when they experience cold, sweet, acid or heat. This is the pain you get when you have sensitive teeth.

Brushing too hard also makes your gums recede and wear away from your teeth exposing the roots, leading to more sensitivity, poor appearance and increased risk of cavities, as the roots are not meant to be in the outside world.

In this blog, Dr Rachel Hall holistic dentist explains the art of brushing gently, so you can learn how to brush like a superstar.


Gentle Brushing Like A Superstar

Brushing gently comes down two things, technique and being present or focused while you brush. Whether you are using a manual or electric style toothbrush these methods apply to both.

  1. Technique

No one really teaches you how to brush your teeth, often you have been told to scrub your teeth and get them nice and clean. Helpful (or perhaps not so helpful comments) when you were a child like brush them properly or you’ll – get a hole, need a filling, have to see the dentist, get a toothache or the dentist will rip all your teeth out don’t teach you how to brush instead they  just instil you with fear.

So every time you clean your teeth it is done from a fear base rather than from an act of caring for yourself and being hygienic. When we are fearful we automatically tense up which means you are more likely to be brushing too hard.

The key is to start with a different goal. The goal here is to give yourself great oral hygiene for life and to care for your teeth and gums.

Choose a soft or ultra-soft brush and lightly place it against your teeth and gums. Move it gently but purposely over your teeth, letting it do the work for you. If you watch yourself in the mirror you may notice that you have the brush in a vice-like grip and are moving your arm from your shoulder rather than moving your hand from your wrist and using your fingers to guide the brush like a dentist uses their tools.

If you find that your brush wears and the bristles splay out after only a matter of days or a few weeks this is a really good sign that you simply brush too hard.

I don’t believe that one technique of brushing is better than another whether that be up and down side to side or circles. The key is small gentle movements, light pressure and no scrubbing.

  1. Be Present

Being present in what you do means having your mind and body both engaged in the task at hand. How often do you find yourself brushing your teeth (or doing anything for that matter) and your mind is off busily running through what you need to get done today or what your day has been like and only if I’d done this or said that for example.

Personally, I find it very challenging to do things gently if my mind is not with me in the task.

So my suggestion for you is to focus on what you are doing especially when it comes to brushing your teeth. By concentrating on the task you will become more aware of how you brush, where you are brushing, how long you have spent and more importantly whether you are being gentle or too hard with your technique.


If you are still having difficulty then try these tips for brushing gently:

  1. when you hold your brush stick out your little pinky finger and you will find you can’t grip the handle as hard and exert as much pressure.
  2. try holding your brush in a pencil grip and only using your fingers and wrist to clean

Both these tips will help you brush more gently.

Take your time to be patient as any new technique will take time to master but before you know where you are you will be brushing like a dental superstar.


  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 25 years experience, practicing holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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