Conservative figures suggest that most of us will spend at least 1825 hours of our lives cleaning our teeth. Effective ways of managing our oral health can leave ones breath smelling better, keep staining off teeth, and limit the pain and cost of repair style dentistry.

So the next time you are in front of the mirror with a toothbrush in hand, these simple tips may help provide a dental cheat list of how to brush and clean effectively.


Studies have shown, that a range of handheld toothbrushes, are of similar effectiveness, when used correctly, and medium to soft bristled brushes are associated with less damage to enamel. However, split mouth studies (where subjects use different methods of cleaning the right and left side of their mouths) conclude that electric toothbrushes are more effective than sonic or hand brushes. Research also shows that the ideal length of time to brush your teeth is around two minutes, twice a day.

Tooth Pastes

Many types of toothpaste contain similar ingredients and it has been shown that the mechanism of brushing contributes more to oral health than certain microbe killing agents within varying pastes.

Mouth Washes

Different mouthwashes reduce the amount of bacteria within the mouth, and certain mouthwashes are good for particular situations (such as after a tooth extraction or for those with gum disease). It is best to liaise with your dentist to determine the right mouthwash for you. In 2008 there was controversy over the cancer causing agents in alcohol-based mouthwashes. This has been largely addressed and is highly improbable should normal levels of mouthwash be used.

Floss / Piksters (Interdental Brushes) / Waterjet

One area that dentists typically notice decay formation is in between teeth. Brushing and mouthwashes do not effectively remove microbes from these areas. Flossing therefore is the best way to clean these decay prone areas. If flossing is difficult or tedious there are alternative methods of cleaning such as the Waterjet and interproximal brushes such as Piksters. For further advice consult your dentist or hygienist.


Certain foods can increase the incidence and progression of tooth decay, and foods containing sugars and acids tend to cause the fastest rates of decay. Studies have shown that without sugars decay cannot form. There are many sources of hidden sugars particularly in sports drinks and processed foods, and bacteria causing holes in teeth, rely on an acidic environment. Foods such as cheese and milk can lower the acid in ones mouth, while chewing gum promotes saliva production, which is a mild base and contains helpful enzymes such as amylase.

Tooth Mousse

If you feel that you have weak teeth or get decay quicker than most, there are adjuncts such as tooth mousse, a cream that boosts and restores the natural structure of teeth. This is a product used worldwide and designed at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The tips in this article are ones that dental professionals regularly use for themselves and their families. It all starts with being a consistent and effective brusher, and regularly seeing your dentist.

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