How To Clean Your Teeth

This series of videos goes through the 3 must-have tools to do the best job of cleaning your teeth!

Part 1

Tool 1: The Electric Tooth Brush

Part 1 Video 1: Why do we need to clean our teeth?

Part 1 Video 2: What are the correct actions to make with the toothbrush?

Part 1 Video 3: Brush along with Dr Carla in real time!

Dentista Dental Centre Morley presents: How to Clean your teeth series

Descriptions and Transcripts


Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series Video 1 Part 1

The Electric Toothbrush

Dentista Dental Centre Morley

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series by Doctor Carla

Part 1 Electric Toothbrush


Hi guys, Dr Carla here... today we are going to be talking about the best way to keep your teeth clean.. this is the first in a three part series.



Now, you might be wondering... what is the whole point of keeping our teeth clean, why is it important to do a good job? Well, the whole reason that we are cleaning our teeth, we have one aim... and that is to remove as much plaque as possible. You might be wondering... what is the plaque? Well it's the soft stuff that sits on your teeth and its tooth coloured, so if you ever scratch your tooth, it's and you get that white furry stuff off... or if it even feels furry to your tongue, that is plaque.


What does plaque do? Why is it so bad? Well, plaque is responsible for the two main problems that you can experience in your mouth.


So the first one is dental cavities. A dental cavity is also known as decay, and when you have a dental cavity or decay in your tooth, it means you have a hole in your tooth. That is bad for quite a few reasons, which we can do another video later on that.


The other thing that plaque is responsible for is gum disease. So gum disease can either be gingivitis, which is a swelling of a redness of the gums. That may present to as when you brush, you get some bleeding. The other thing that plaque makes worse is something called periodontitis and that is when you have not just swelling of the gums, but also it can affect the bone that supports you whole tooth.


So that's what plaque does and that's why when we brush we want to remove as much plaque as possible.


The first tool that we are going to talk about is... you may have guessed it, the toothbrush. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes remove significantly more plaque than manual toothbrushes. I agree with this completely. I for many years was using a manual toothbrush, because I thought, after all I'm a dentist... i have pretty good skills and I should be fine. When I made the switch however, to the electric toothbrush, I noticed a significant improvement in the amount of plaque removal. So if you can, I highly recommend that you start out with an electric toothbrush


Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series Video 1 Part 2

How to brush your teeth

Dentista Dental Centre Morley

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series by Doctor Carla

Video 1 Electric Toothbrush, Part 2 How to Brush


What we really are aiming to do when we brush our teeth with the electric toothbrush, or even a manual toothbrush if that's what your using, is to cover every surface of our teeth with the brush and make sure that it's there for enough time to clean the plaque off. 

If you imagine that plaque is very sticky.. you can think of it like some grease on a plate. If you just kind of dip the plate into the detergent water, and you pull it out, the grease is still there. You need to actually scrub it a bit using the sponge for that to come off. So it's the same with our teeth. We need to make sufficient contact with the brush with all the surfaces of our teeth because the plaque will cover every single surface. 

Not just the front, not just the insides, not just the biting surface, but between the surfaces of the teeth as well. 

Teeth are not just flat square objects, so it's important that you make sure you 'do the curve' for each tooth because a tooth is kind of curved like this (Dr Carla cups her hand to show a curved surface), so that your brush does the front, but it also curves all around the front surface of the tooth. If you just hold your brush on the front.. and you don't do the curves, then that plaque will stay there, and that makes it that you have a higher chance to get cavities between your teeth.

So I am going to demonstrate that action, quite exaggerated so that you get the idea. We go across like this (Dr Carla puts the toothbrush on the front tooth, the brush is starting from the right of the screen to the left) and we go into the curve (Dr Carla moves the brush in a curving action.). If we are looking from the top, like this (Dr Carla shows the curving action from right to left from a top view). As we go to the tooth behind.. like that (Dr Carla again does the demonstration of using the brush from right to left in a curving motion, for the tooth behind). So that way we are getting right around those curves.

So the next action that you want to make sure you are doing, after you've done the curves.. is that you sufficiently cover the whole up and down surface of the tooth. So up and down (Dr Carla demonstrates the motion by placing the the toothbrush at the end of the tooth, then going up in one motion to the top of the tooth to the gum). You actually want to feel the brush going over the gums. Okay, so you should feel the brush making contact with your gum.

Now, if this is something that you don't normally do, and you've just started brushing like this and brushing over the gums.. then you might notice a bit of bleeding. Don't stress, that doesn't mean that you are damaging your gums at all, it's just that there is a little bit of inflammation there. After you brush like this (the way demonstrated), over the gums for a few days, then that bleeding should completely stop. If it persists, then that's a good sign to come in and see the dentist, to get it checked out. 

The next action to keep in mind when you are brushing is to make sure that you don't scrub. The electric toothbrush does all that action for you. It either does this (moves left the right in a circular motion) or some of the sonic ones do more of an action like this (vibrating motion). Your job is to hold the brush with sufficient pressure and sufficient time in the right position. So you don't want to be doing lots of this (scrubbing action), and quick movements. You want to be holding it, and  then making sure you do the whole up and downs so it goes over the gums... and doing that left and right and getting the curves. So that's how you do the fronts of the teeth. then you have to make sure you brush the biting surfaces, which is the top and bottom of the teeth on the inside, so like this (Dr Carla then puts the brush on the biting surface of the tooth and then puts the brush inside for the inside of the teeth). Then you want to brush the insides. 

That curve that is on the front of the tooth... is also on the inside of the tooth. (Dr Carla then demonstrates brushing the curve on the inside of the teeth with the toothbrush). Also down the bottom. 

You really want to make sure that you can feel those bristles on the gum and you can feel the bristles getting into all the curves of the teeth.



Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series Video 1 Part 3

Brush With Me

Dentista Dental Centre Morley

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series by Doctor Carla

Video 1 Electric Toothbrush, Part  3 Brush With Me


One of the trickiest things about plaque is that it's tooth coloured... you can't actually see it. So for our demonstration today, I'm going to be using something called.. disclosing solution. If you come into see us at Dentista Dental Centre Morley,  and we do a check up and a clean for you, then we use this disclosing solution as part of our Airflow! guided biofilm therapy cleaning technique, as part of the protocol. 

I haven't brushed my teeth since last night, it is now about 1pm of the following day, so let's see what the damage is. 

I have my disclosing here and I'm just going to paint it on all the surfaces of my teeth and i'll rinse it off. What is left will be where the plaque is. So anywhere that shows purple after I rinse out is where there is plaque that we need to clean off. 

Here we go (Dr Carla starts to put on the disclosing solution to cover all parts of her teeth). 


So you can see that I have quite a bit of purple down here (lower front teeth towards the gum area) and there is a little bit here (top front teeth in between the two top middle teeth). I have a little divet or a notch in that tooth which is a protected area for the plaque to hide out in. I have some around those curves that I was talking about in my back teeth. 

The reason I have quite a lot here (Dr Carla points to the bottom front teeth), is because these bottom front teeth were actually traumatised when I was a baby, and when the enamel formed, it was all rough like this (Dr Carla makes a wavy sign with her hands demonstrating the rough surface of the bottom teeth). So it's not a smooth surface. 

So if you have a similar case where you have teeth that are not very smooth or if you have got teeth that have got fillings in them or crowns or anything... any area where it's not completely smooth or where there's a join of a filling material or a crown to your tooth, that is a nice little 

nook that the plaque can get caught in. Imagine it's similar to under your fingernails or in grout or any kind of seam that always seems to get more dirty than a flat smooth surface. 

Now let's clean it all off. You can brush along with me in real time.

This tooth brush here is an Oral B one. This area here (the top of the electric toothbrush before the brush extension) will actually light up red I'm putting too much pressure. So that's really good feedback. Here we go

(Dr Carla now brushes for 2 minutes, using the curve technique and brushing all surfaces of the tooth. During the brushing time, there is one period where she uses too much pressure and the light turns red).

Let's have a look... see if there is any purple left. You can see that all the purple that was around the front grooves of the teeth are gone... and the same around that little notch. So you can see how effective the electric toothbrush is given if you:

1. Hold it in the right spot for the sufficient amount of time

2. Do the correct movement, so you cover the whole tooth up and down, and getting into the  curves of those teeth.

3. Don't use too much pressure.

At one point the little red light went off, and that was a good indication that I was pushing too hard. If you're one of those people who's toothbrushes bristles splay out at 90 degrees after a couple of weeks of use, then that is way too much pressure. The bad thing about that is that you can abrade your tooth structure and you can also abrade your gums and wear them away. When the bristle is on the side like this, it's not actually effective at cleaning the tooth surface. The effective part of the bristle is the tip. If your bristles have gone sideways like this and you're brushing the side, you are not actually doing a great job of cleaning. If that's the case then maybe you can try out one of these electric toothbrushes that has the pressure sensor. As soon as you start to see the bristles splay out... ditch that brush and put a new one on.

That concludes the first of our 3 part series on how to keep your teeth clean with the toothbrush. Hopefully you found that information useful and if you were doing those techniques already.. great! If not then try and implement them next time you brush your teeth and we will see you for the next 2 parts of the how to keep your teeth clean series... see you then.