Just because the likes of George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston brush their pearly whites on screen in a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s the right one. Many of us can be easily misled and imitate, often subconsciously, the actions of what our too-good-looking-to-be-true movie stars do on screen. Be it due to the influence from the media or from the lack of proper oral health education, a study found an astounding 90% of people to be brushing their teeth the wrong way! Almost everyone brushes their teeth, but you wonder why only so few of us manage to win the battle against dental decay and gum disease.

Brushing your pearly whites is not simply a routine cycle you put yourself through every morning and night just because you were told to when you were a kid. If you brush, brush right! Studies have backed up the effectiveness and efficiency of the Modified Bass Technique in the removal of plaque near the gum line, helping to prevent gum disease. Follow the steps below to see if the Modified Bass Technique works for you.




Hold your toothbrush against the outer (cheek) side of your teeth, angled at approximately 45 degrees towards the gum line as illustrated in Figure 1.




Move the brush back and forth (green arrow) using short strokes or in tiny circular motion (red arrows). The bristles of the brush should remain in one place while the head of the brush moves back and forth or in circles. This allows the bristles to gently slide under the gum and loosen plaque and food debris.




Then, flick the brush towards the biting edge of your teeth (blue arrow) as shown in Figure 2. The flicking motion helps to dislodge the loosened plaque and food debris.




Brush systematically along the outer (cheek) side of the teeth, then proceed to do the same on the inner (tongue) side of the teeth as illustrated in Figure 3 and finally the chewing surfaces.




It may be difficult to position the toothbrush horizontally when brushing the inner (tongue) side of the front teeth. Consider positioning the toothbrush in an upright fashion, with the bristles pointing at the gum margin and brush in an outward direction (from the gum to the biting edge of the tooth) as illustrated in Figure 4.

Bigger is not always better! Use a toothbrush that fits comfortably in your mouth so that you are able to maneuver the toothbrush head and reach all areas including the back teeth and around crowns or fillings. It is recommended to brush thoroughly with a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste for approximately 2 minutes and floss daily, once in the morning and once before bed at night hence preventing the accumulation of plaque and bacteria. It is also highly essential to replace your toothbrush and not get too attached and nostalgic. Bristles that are frayed are not effective at removing plaque and one should be wary of the many kinds of bacteria have can be harbored in there after an extended period! Consider changing your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.

Now armed with this information, embark on your fight against dental decay and gum disease. May the force be with you!