Brushing Tips Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential to good oral health. Brushing removes the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Follow these tips to do it right: Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently. Brushing too hard can cause gum damage. Be sure your toothbrush is the right size (generally smaller is better than larger). Tilt the bristles (at a 45-degree angle) to the teeth. Slide the tips of the brush under the gums. Jiggle the bristles gently so that plaque under the gum will be removed. Be sure to brush all sides of the teeth—the outside, the tongue side, and the chewing surfaces. For the front teeth, brush the inside surfaces of the upper and lower jaws. Tilt the brush and make several up and down strokes. The front part of the brush should go over the teeth and gum tissues. Your toothbrush will only clean one or two teeth at a time. Change its position to properly clean each tooth. Don’t rush your brush. A thorough brushing should take at least three minutes. A pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is all you need. Replace your brush when the bristles begin to spread or wear out. If you're not sure that your tooth brushing technique is correct, ask your dentist.