It seems the reason you are confused is there is conflicting advice. The minimum I recommend is 2 minutes.
This should be approximately split into four 30 second intervals. Each 30 seconds can be used for an aspect of your teeth
1 - outside of the top (touching your cheek and lips)
2 - inside of the top (facing towards your palate)
3 - outside of bottom teeth
4 - inside of bottom teeth.
The most effective technique is to use little circles with your brush, angling it at a 45 degree angle towards the gum. After several strokes, rotate the brush in a sweeping motion towards the biting surface of the tooth. This is called the modified bass technique.
You will not be able to do this at the lower front teeth, so instead bring the brush from above down to the gum, so the handle is facing upwards, again at 45 degrees. Use an upward sweeping motion. At the end some brushing back and forth along the biting surfaces of the teeth completes the brushing.
Some people find the coordination to do circular motion difficult. In this case, you can gently use a back and forth motion instead of circles. You should be careful though, as too much pressure can damage the gum.
Using an electric brush can be beneficial. For those with poor technique, it does the hard work for them. It also allows less pressure to be used. Many brushes have an automatic timer to let you know when to move between areas and how long to spend brushing.
As it is such a common question, you have inspired me to put this post up on our website! So thanks for that. http://darlinghurstdental.com.au/2015/11/what-is-the-best-way-to-brush-my-teeth/
Dr Frank Farrelly
30 Burton St, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
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