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Updated: 11 Apr 2022

How to brush with an electric toothbrush

Simply owning an electric toothbrush isn't enough for healthy teeth. You need to master the correct brushing technique. Here's how...
Patrick Gallagher
Woman brushing her teeth

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 on 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

Angle the toothbrush 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

Clean the inside surfaces of your teeth

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

Woman flossing her teeth

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 Sonicare.

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 Best Buy electric toothbrushes to avoid forking out for a dud.