The best way to brush your teeth: Not your put brush in the mouth and look busy

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What's the best method?

"Lots of patients understand that what they need to do is remove food remnants," says Hirschfeld. "That is only partially true. It's much more important to remove bacteria from the teeth."

One of the most effective ways to clear the biofilm is known as "the modified Bass technique". This requires considerably more manual dexterity than the vague put-the-brush-in-your-mouth-and-look-busy method that many of us use, as I soon find out.

The modified Bass technique involves placing the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth face (tilted down for the lower jaw and upwards for the upper, as if you are trying almost to edge the bristles below the gums). You then make small, vibratory movements back and forth at the gumline.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.