Maida Smiles (W. London)

Tel: 020 3974 1777

19 May

A letter to our patients – Brushing teeth: From chore to fun


Dear Patient,

Hello, how are you? We trust you are staying tremendously healthy during this lockdown time.

Due to the current restrictions, we are still unable to physically treat our patients. In the meantime, we continue to offer emergency telephone consultations. Check out our main webpage for more detailed information.

Following up on our last letter, in which we encouraged you to use this opportunity to look after your teeth and gums, and as promised, here are some tips to turn the volume up on your toothbrushing routine!

Brushing teeth is an activity we do every day, twice a day. Can you imagine looking forward to brushing your teeth every day?

I look forward to brushing my teeth every day, and this is not because I am a dentist and I love looking after my teeth and gums. It did not used to be this way for me. I did not look forward to brushing my teeth as a child, not even when I was at dental school. That was done as a pure chore.

What changed?

The fun element is a part of it, and the one that makes the whole difference is how great it is to care for ourselves.

Are you ready to give it a go? 

Well, this is not only super possible but also very real, as I hear back from many patients how much they are now enjoying looking after their oral health. Some say that it feels weird but that they look forward to cleaning their teeth!


  • It takes 2 minutes to clean your teeth properly
  • Brushing your teeth can be fun

One warning: chances are you will fall in love with yourself even more!

Image result for warning symbol I find this to be worth talking about. Is it risky? Don’t you?

My top tips for you to try it yourself

Open your arms!

You may wonder if I got mad about talking about arms and toothbrushing!

Stay with me.

I notice in many people (myself included) that our arms can be tight next to our body when we brush our teeth, especially the ones we use to hold onto the toothbrush. The result is that we not only make this activity harder but also often miss some areas as we cannot position the toothbrush in the correct angulation to brush the teeth and gums. Opening our arms makes the difference; you can reach out to these areas more easily.

Attention! Forearms

What?!! Yes, just before you start brushing your teeth, notice how your forearms feel. We can hold a lot of tension and pressure in this part of our body, and by holding tight on our toothbrushes, we transfer this tension and pressure to our teeth and gums. The result: receding gums, tooth wear, and teeth sensitivity.

So, next time you brush your teeth, start by letting your arms go and moving them around until you feel they are relaxed.

Brushing seated

I love taking a seat to brush my teeth. Have you tried it? You take your time brushing your teeth, concentrate on each region to be cleaned, and let your body relax. It is just awesome!

P.S.: make sure you can P.S.his by looking at a mirror

Order of brushing 

Changing the order in which we brush our teeth from time to time is excellent. For example, if you always start on the outside surfaces, try starting on the inside ones. Or change the side where you begin, left or right. When we do routine activities, we can get into auto-pilot mode, so this change in order makes us pay more attention to how we are brushing our teeth.

Brushing Club

I love brushing my teeth with my husband and often suggest that patients make toothbrushing a family activity. I find it super fun to do this activity together. Try to talk whilst brushing if you can!

Brush DJ D.J.Music and danceThe DJsD.J.sre fu,n too!

For music lovers, there is a brilliant free app that you can use to play your favourite songs from your smartphone while it takes the 2-minute recommended brushing time. It is called Brush DJ.D.Jnd dare to dance whilst you’re brushing your teeth!


It is great to have some different flavours of toothpaste to choose from. Why not create your own toothpaste flavour by mixing different toothpastes?

Purple Mouth 

Using disclosing plaque tablets can be a fun and helpful tool at home to check how well you are cleaning your teeth and identifying areas you are missing brushing. These areas will be coloured where plaque is present. Can you even determine if the plaque is present depending on the product you use? New?Orr? OldItialso t reveals the specific areas we are missing when brushing our teeth. These can be bought at pharmacies and used monthly, for example. If you find any location that shows plaque is present, make sure you do not brush this area harder, but look into changing the angulation of the brush or sometimes adding interdental cleaning aids to your oral hygiene routine. Talk to your dental professional about these.

Some general simple technical tips:

  • All teeth, top and bottom, need cleaning
  • On each tooth, we have three surfaces that need cleaning when brushing: the inside, the outside, and the top one, the surface we use to bite.

Lower teeth



Biting Surface

Upper teeth



Biting Surface

Brush at a 45?

Source: images adapted from Gently/Curaden 

  • The other 2 surfaces on the sides of our teeth, the area between them, are cleaned with interdental cleaning aids such as dental floss, which we will cover in another letter. Again, simple and fun!
  • Brush closer to the gum line. The brush position: half on the gums, half on the teeth
  • Mainly the lower teeth, on the part closer to the tongue. I always tell people that our tongue is made of powerful muscles, plus the floor of our mouth (yes, our mouth has a floor!!!!) is also made of muscles and, together with the tongue, these are all very active, particularly when brushing our teeth. They are used to dislodge the toothbrush from the gum line position. I often see dental plaque in the area of the junction tooth-gum line on the inside part of the teeth, closer to the tongue. The best technique is the? Open your arms? Technique above? It makes it much easier to reach this area.
  • Watch out for the jumping areas when changing the position of the toothbrush. This is a widespread mistake we make when brushing. Because of the round shape of our dental arch, we often move our toothbrush in different directions when brushing to reach out to the back parts of our teeth. Moving the brush in a different direction makes it easy to Jump in some areas.? That does not get brushed. It is excellent to follow an order when brushing.
  • Close your mouth to reach out to the back of the upper teeth. This is the complete opposite of what we would imagine doing. Usually, we open our mouths more to clean the back of our top teeth, which actually makes it more difficult to reach these areas. By closing the mouth, we relax the muscles in the area and have more access to clean these teeth.

Enjoy brushing your teeth!

When you finish, take a moment to enjoy the feeling of super-clean teeth and how great it feels to care for them!

With warmest wishes,

Priscila Souza

Maida Smiles Team