The following brushing methods are by no means all those that have been recommended, but are probably the 5 best known.

Modified Bass Method
only currently recommended technique

brushingThis is widely excepted as the most effective technique for the removal of plaque around the gumline, helping to prevent gum disease.

Direct the brush towards the roots of the teeth at a 45º angle. Press lightly but not enough to bend the bristles and then gently, with short movements, brush back and forth in a vibratory type action.

This may seem a little more difficult behind (tongue/palate) the front teeth. If you use a pencil grip, it is easy to brush side-to-side in these areas.

Normal brushing CANNOT damage teeth or gums, click here.

How to tell when you’re done brushing: be sure to always brush until you teeth are completely smooth (see about dry-brushing, click here).

Discontinued Methods

Discontinued methods are not bad methods, they are simply not effective at removing plaque where your brush can reach. Many of the older methods were used for anecdotal reasons, such as the notion that brushing side-to-side could damage the teeth and/or gums (it CANNOT, click here to see more about this). Another idea that served as the basis for a particular method involved the belief that brushing “stimulated” the gums. It doesn’t, but that was what was taught. It is very simple to evaluate the effectiveness of brushing by using disclosing solution to stain where plaque is present.

  • Scrub
    This is probably the first brushing technique used by children, it is easy to use and requires little manual dexterity. It is recommended that as soon as children show an increase in dexterity their brushing method should be improved.
  • Roll
    Many of people were taught, and still use, the roll technique – this method does not clean the teeth well and pays little attention to the gumline, and therefore is ineffective. It is an awkward technique to master.The brush is placed against the gums and rolled away from the gums towards the biting or chewing surface.
  • Modified Stillman
    This was designed for massage and stimulation (a very outdated notion) as well as cleaning, but is equally ineffective and more difficult to master than the Roll method as it employs both a rolling and a vibratory type action.The brush is placed with the bristles angled towards the tip of the roots and in contact with the gum tissue. It is then pressed until the gum blanches. The brush is simultaneously rolled away from the gums and vibrated, then repeated for each tooth.
  • Fones
    This was probably one the first methods taught by the dental profession, especially in the US. Dr. Fones founded the first Dental Hygienists course in the US, and his technique was the standard method used for many years, it is often called the Circular method.With the teeth closed, place the tip of the bristles gently against the side of the back teeth. Sweep the brush vigorously over the tooth surface in a circular motion covering both upper and lower teeth working your way forward. When cleaning the front teeth, bring them edge to edge and continue brushing.