How to brush with an electric toothbrushby Oli McKean
Simply owning an electric toothbrush isn't enough for healthy teeth. You need to master the correct brushing technique. Here's how...
Put us to the test
Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.
- Get the Which? verdict from our independent experts
- Weigh up the pros and cons in an instant
- Go to town on the details with our full review
- Read our member reviews to see what they think
- Is it a Don’t Buy? It could be a dud, and a costly one too
- 20 Electric toothbrushes available
Brushing properly and thoroughly is the best way of keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy with your electric toothbrush. This step-by-step guide will show you how to perfect your brushing technique.
A build-up of plaque on your teeth can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis) which, over time, can lead to loss of gum tissue.
It's vital to stop plaque in its tracks by removing as much of it as possible. Regular and even brushing with a manual or electric toothbrush is the best way to banish plaque.
Read below for our top tips on brushing effectively.
Just want to find out which are the best electric toothbrushes for thorough cleaning and long-lasting battery life? Read our electric toothbrush reviews.
The perfect brushing technique
The key to successful teeth cleaning is gently brushing for long enough, and systematically working across the inside and outside of all your teeth.
1. Clean thoroughly and evenly
Brush your teeth twice a day – morning and night – and brush for at least two minutes each time.
Clean both sides of your teeth – the outside (next to your cheeks and lips) and the inside (next to your tongue or palate).
Make sure you clean evenly across all your teeth: top and bottom, inside and outside.
2. Angle the brush head
Tilt the brush head at 45 degrees to where teeth meet the gum – this is where most plaque builds.
Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Using a fluoride toothpaste is the best way of preventing tooth decay – it can protect against holes forming in your teeth that will need filling by your dentist.
3. Clean one row of teeth at a time
Start with back outer surfaces and lightly brush each tooth from top to bottom until you reach the middle of your mouth.
Don't brush too hard – the bristles should lightly sweep across the tooth.
Brush too hard and you risk brushing away the enamel which is protecting your teeth. This leads to heightened sensitivity.
Repeat for the same row on the other side of your mouth.
4. Clean inside surfaces
Again, start at the back, cleaning from the top to the bottom of each tooth, and work towards the centre on each side of your mouth.
Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the insides of front teeth.
5. Brush the biting surfaces
End your brushing routine by cleaning along the biting surfaces of your teeth.
When you've finished brushing, spit out the toothpaste but don't rinse – this will help keep more of the fluoride in your mouth and working against cavities.
6. Floss regularly
Your toothbrush won't reach into the gaps between your teeth.
Flossing every day will help dislodge bacteria and plaque that takes hold between teeth.
Electric toothbrush reviews
We've reviewed electric toothbrushes from household names such as Oral B, Colgate and Philips.
Our independent and thorough tests have unearthed Best Buys you can rely on to do a great job of helping to keep your teeth clean and gums healthy, and that hold their charge well.
We've found that there's no direct link between price and quality, so head to our electric toothbrush Best Buys to avoid forking out for a dud.
Not a Which? member? Sign up for a £1 Which? trial to access these and thousands of other independent reviews.