Dentists Can’t Agree on Right Way to Brush Teeth

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-08_d8287dc9b3.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- If you’re confused about how often, how long and the best way to brush your teeth, you’re not alone. It turns out even dentists don’t agree on recommendations. According to a new analysis of 58 studies published in dental journals, recommendations vary on almost every aspect of brushing.

In terms of duration, 26 sources recommended brushing for two minutes, 12 recommended brushing two to three minutes and two recommended brushing for three minutes.

There are also some discrepancies regarding frequency: while 42 sources recommended twice daily brushing, another source recommended we brush our teeth three times daily.

Finally, there are different types of brushing techniques, which vary by the type and location of brush stroke -- and each even has its own name. Again, dentists really couldn’t agree on which technique to use: 11 studies recommended the “Bass” technique (mostly horizontal, with some vertical and circular motions), 10 recommended “Fones” (large, sweeping, circular motions, with brush at right angle to teeth), five recommended the “Scrub” approach (horizontal motions, parallel to the gums) and two recommended “Stillman” (primarily vertical brush movements).

The analysis, published in the British Dental Journal on Friday, points to much-needed synthesis and streamlining of dental recommendations, so that both the public -- and dentists -- can understand how to brush.

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