In order to continue to maintain healthy teeth and gums, a regime of brushing twice a day should be combined with interdental brushing or cleaning between the teeth with floss.

This will ensure that your teeth are kept throughout your life.

The importance of brushing

The major cause of tooth decay and gum disease is plaque, this is a natural production in the mouth during the day. Whilst brushing controls plaque formation around the surfaces of your teeth, it does not reach between your teeth and that is why interdental brushing once a day is so crucial. It has been estimated that brushing alone only cleans 65% of the tooth surface.

One of the commonest indications of gingivitis is bleeding gums. We get asked every day by patients as to why their gums bleed.
1. Don't ignore it.
2. Don't stop brushing because they bleed - gums will not get better by leaving the plaque around the teeth.
3. Use a Chlorhexidine Mouthwash or Gel such as Corsodyl for a week or two.
4. Use an electric tooth brush (ideally) for a minimum of 2 minutes twice a day.
5. Use floss or interdental brushes at least once a day.

Manual Toothbrushing

MANUAL toothbrushes should be of a medium texture with a medium sized head. The brush should be held at 45 degree angle where the gum and tooth meet, using small circular motions for effective plaque removal and to minimise tooth wear through over brushing. Search for the Bass Technique on YouTube.

Some Advice


If you smoke, or drink a lot of tea, coffee or red wine it is likely that you will develop stained teeth. In most cases you should be able to remove this staining with regular cleaning. However, more stubborn stains may take a little more effort or scaling. Electric toothbrushes can reduce the incidence of staining.


Many people use a mouthwash as part of their daily oral health routine. Some mouthwashes contain an anti-bacterial ingredient to help reduce plaque and prevent gum disease. Mouthwashes may contain fluoride to help prevent decay and all will help to freshen your breath and wash away particles of food. However, they are certainly not a substitute for good brushing!.

Mouthwashes can be used to aid tooth brushing and interdental cleaning. Mouthwashes can be used to reduce general oral bacteria which lies on the teeth, tongue, and soft tissues inside the mouth. Some will help reduce gingival inflammation and bleeding or reduce halitosis (bad breath). Mouthwashes are a good adjunct to keeping a good oral hygiene regime but it is important to remember that the most effective way to remove plaque is mechanically by using a brush and interdental aid.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be caused by many things. An acid diet (from fruit juices, fruit / lemon tea and fizzy drinks) can cause enamel erosion leading to sensitivity. Brushing too hard and gum disease can all lead to sensitivity. It is always best to seek advice from your dentist to establish whether a problem exists especially if the sensitivity is not resolving. Sensitivity to hot and cold can be eased with daily use of a sensitive toothpaste. Many of these toothpastes have a ‘build up’ effect whereby the more you use them the better they get so it is always best to use them continuously.


Most toothpastes contain Sodium Fluoride to help reduce the incidence of dental caries. Children's toothpastes contain a lower dose of fluoride. There are many different toothpastes available on the market including those which help to reduce gum inflammation, sensitivity and dental erosion. Toothpastes which claim to remove staining and which whiten teeth should be used with caution as some of these can be abrasive and actually cause tooth sensitivity. Equally many whitening toothpastes have little effect and often make the teeth more sensitive.

Children's Brushing

One of the biggest problems we see is that of poor oral hygiene in children. Plaque removal is fairly simple if children brush for long enough. Here are some tips:

  • Brush for a minimum of 2 minutes twice a day.
  • Use disclosing tablets (available from from chemists) (or food dye on a cotton bud applied to the teeth) to show children where plaque is. Do this once week.
  • Use a timer for 2 minutes.
  • Some electric tooth brushes have timers and beep after each 30 seconds. Use this to brush a different area of the mouth.
  • Listen to a favourite song whilst brushing for the whole track.

Electric Tooth Brushes

A frequently asked question is "how do I use and electric toothbrush?"

There are two types of electric brush, those with a small round oscillating head and those with a more conventional vibrating head. Which you choose is personal choice.

Generally a slower lighter touch is needed compared with a manual brush allowing time for the brush to do its work. They are particularly good for cleaning around wisdom teeth.

The video shows the use of an Oral B brush.

Important! Electric / Battery toothbrush heads do not look as worn as manual brushes. However for optimal cleaning they should not be used longer than 3 months.

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Visit usThe Terrace Dental Practice
61-63 Church Street,
Padiham Lancashire
BB12 8JH