Researchers have said a dizzying array of conflicting advice on tooth brushing has led to confusion about the best way to stay clean and fresh.
A new study found five different methods of tooth brushing in dental textbooks, toothpaste instructions and research papers.
And there simple conclusion is forget little circular motions or moving along the gum-line, the best method is a simple back and forth scrub.
Aubrey Sheilam, professor of dental public health at University College, London has distilled the advice into some simple tips.
He said that a horizontal brushing motion, with the toothbrush held like a pencil at a 45 degree angle, is the best way to get to dental plaque.
“Dental associations need to be consistent about what method to recommend, based on how effective the method is.
“Most worryingly, the methods recommended by dental associations are not the same as the best ones mentioned in dental textbooks.
“There is no evidence to suggest that complicated techniques are any better than a simple gentle scrub.”
He also stated that brushing after eating sweets or sugary drinks to prevent tooth decay has little effect because it takes bacteria from food about two minutes to start producing acid, the acid will have already damaged the enamel.
Dentist Dr John Wainwright, who carried out the study, said: “For something most people do twice a day, you would expect dentists to send a clearer, more unified message to their patients on how to brush their teeth.”