Time to Brush up on Brushing Right

Chances are you aren’t brushing properly.

It’s true. While most people brush, many don’t get the full benefit, because they don’t do it properly. Most don’t brush often enough. Many also don’t use an effective technique, or they don’t use a well-designed brush that ‘s in good condition. If you take a few minutes to read this message, you’ll find out if you’re not brushing properly . .. and you’ll also learn how to keep your teeth their healthiest by brushing the right way!

What’s the big deal about brushing anyway?

Brushing is one of the most important ways you have of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Healthy teeth and gums mean a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth is a more attractive mouth.

The chief purpose of brushing is to remove the bacteria that form every day inside everyone’s mouth. When bacteria multiply, the result is plaque-a sticky, colorless substance that forms daily on teeth and gums. And if plaque isn’t routinely removed, it can lead to tooth decay (cavities), gum disease, and eventual loss of teeth.

Furthermore, your teeth may eventually become stained and discolored.

By helping eliminate plaque, daily brushing not only helps you keep your teeth and gums healthier, but it helps you keep your teeth. In addition, your teeth will be whiter, your breath will be cleaner, and your mouth will have a refreshed rather than a stale taste. This adds up to greater oral comfort and more attractive teeth.

How often should I brush my teeth?

Ideally, you should brush in the morning and at bedtime. Once a day really isn’t enough, because plaque is forming continuously on your teeth all day long. The amount of time it takes to brush may vary. At the beginning, it may take a little longer to brush the right way, but with practice it ‘ ll be quicker. The important thing is to brush as long as necessary to clean all your teeth thoroughly.

Does it really matter what kind of brush I use?

Yes , it does. The brush should fit comfortably both in your hand and-most importantly-in your mouth. Soft, end-polished nylon bristles are preferred because they’re gentler on sensitive gum tissue. The REACH® Toothbrush has all these qualities.

REACH® Toothbrushes carry the seal of the American Dental Association, which indicates they are professionally recognized as safe and effective. They are available in sizes for all ages: REACH® Full Size and REACH® Compact for adults , REACH® Youth for children 6 to 12 years old, and REACH® Child, which is uniquely designed for the small mouth and hands of children 1 to 5 years old.

Each family member should have his or her own brush. Brushes should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, because worn or bent bristles remove less plaque and may also injure gum tissues.

Children should use brushes specifically designed for them, since their mouths are smaller than those of adults .

So what’s the right way to brush my teeth?

It ‘s really very simple when you use a REACH® Toothbrush. At first , it may feel a little different from the brush that you may be used to . That’s because the neck is slightly angled to help you clean hard-to-reach areas , particularly your back teeth . Also , the handle is shaped to help you hold and move the brush comfortably. Now, here’s the right way to get cleaner teeth using a REACH® Toothbrush:

Brushing outer surfaces of side and rear teeth

Hold the toothbrush with the side bristles positioned where teeth and gums meet. Let the bristles slide into the small groove between teeth and gums. Wiggle with a short, gentle back and forth motion.

Brushing outer surfaces of front teeth

Place the toothbrush horizontally on your teeth. Hold the brush so the outside bristles point toward the edge of the gums. Wiggle brush in short, horizontal strokes to remove plaque and debris from the teeth and gums. 

Brushing inner surfaces of side and rear teeth

Position your toothbrush by holding it parallel to the tooth line with the outside bristle tips reaching the edge of the gums. Wiggle bristles with gentle but firm vibrating motions.

Brushing inner surfaces of front teeth

Place the bristles where your teeth and gums meet. Wiggle the bristles back and forth to loosen food particles and plaque. REACH® Toothbrushes give you double cleaning power: the longer outside bristles clean along your gum line and the shorter inside bristles clean the surface of your teeth.

Other important points to remember are:

  • Brush the chewing surfaces of all teeth, upper and lower. But brush only one or two teeth at a time, from one side of the mouth to the other.
  • Brush gently to avoid harming your gums. And be sure to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing.

And what if I have questions between dental visits?

You don’t have to be in your dentist’s office to get answers to any questions you might have about oral care. Advice is as close as the nearest phone. Contact:

  • for professional advice, contact your dentist or dental hygienist.
  • for information about any Johnson & Johnson product, call the Johnson &Johnson Consumer Information Center toll-free 1-800-526-2433.

What else can I do to keep my teeth and gums at their best?

Make an appointment with your dentist at least once every 6 months. Regular visits mean that gum disease, tooth decay, or any other dental problems are more likely to be noticed in their beginning stages-the point when they’re easiest to treat.

It’s important, too, to follow a healthy diet. Proteins, vitamins, and minerals are just as important to the health of your teeth and gums as they are to the rest of your body. So eat sensibly -a good diet always includes an adequate source of protein as well as fruits , vegetables, and bread or cereals. And avoid eating too many betweenmeal snacks or sticky foods.

And, of course, you should follow a regular, daily program of oral care that will keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. You won’t find the program hard-in fact, it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Brush twice a day or after every meal, using a good quality toothbrush that isn’t worn down. Toothbrushes do wear out, so change your brush every 3 months and use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Be sure to clean in between your teeth at least once a day, using dental floss or STIM-U-DENT® Interdental Cleaners.
  3. Rinse daily with ACT®. Its effective anticavity action provides additional help in keeping your teeth strong and resistant to decay.

When buying oral care products, remember they should all carry the American Dental Association seal-your assurance of high quality.

Johnson &Johnson products are available to help you carry out all three of the important steps above. In addition to REACH® Toothbrushes, there are STIM-U-DENT® Interdental Cleaners, Johnson &Johnson Dental Floss, and ACT® Fluroide Dental Rinse. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist how these Johnson & Johnson products can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.


This booklet is one in a series of Johnson &Johnson booklets on important aspects of oral care. See your dentist or dental hygienist to obtain the full series.

HX·303R Printed in U.S.A. February 1987