Cleaning our teeth regularly is one of the most important steps we can take to help our teeth and gums stay healthy. Adults and children should brush for at least two minutes, at least twice a day.
Toothbrushes (or brush heads if you're using an electric toothbrush) generally need replacing every two to three months to make sure they're still working properly. If you notice the bristles are starting to splay out, replace your brush immediately.
Manual or electric toothbrush?
When used correctly, manual and electric toothbrushes are both equally effective at cleaning teeth. Just make sure you use a toothpaste containing the appropriate amount of fluoride for you, and brush thoroughly over all the surfaces of your teeth.
Some people find it's easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes with oscillating or rotating heads can be particularly helpful.
Choosing the best toothbrush for you
A toothbrush with a small head will make it easier to reach all the parts of your mouth and all the surfaces of your teeth.
Look for a combination of long and short bristles. This will allow your brush to clean between your teeth as well as the surfaces.
Medium or soft bristles are best for most people. Rounded-end bristles will help to protect your gums. Remember that plaque is soft so you don't need to put too much pressure on your teeth to remove it.
If you're not sure which toothbrush is best, or if you have any questions, you can talk to your dentist or pharmacist for advice.
Choosing a toothbrush for your child
Just like adult teeth, children's teeth need brushing at least twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste. You should start cleaning your child's teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. This is usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later.
You should supervise their teeth-cleaning (either by cleaning their teeth for them, or watching as they do it) until they're around seven or eight. After this, they should be able to manage by themselves. However, it's still a good idea to check up on them every now and then to make sure they're cleaning properly, and for the correct length of time.
A good children's toothbrush should have a small, compact head that can be easily moved around their mouth to reach all their teeth. Look for bristles with rounded ends to protect your child's gums, and for a combination of long and short bristles to clean between the teeth.
Your child's toothbrush should be replaced every two to three months, or sooner if the bristles begin to look splayed. Many children chew on their toothbrush, which can cause the bristles to splay more quickly. Keep a close eye on their brush, and replace it promptly if you notice this happening.
• Replace your toothbrush every two to three months – sooner if the bristles start to look splayed
• Look for medium or soft bristles with rounded ends, to help protect your gums
• Choose a toothbrush with a compact head to make it easier to reach all parts of your mouth