Do we all have bad habits when it comes to brushing our teeth? Dental expert: The NHS recommends that you scrub your teeth for two minutes at once.

  • Brits should brush for 4 minutes twice daily in order to get rid of the most plaque
  • But, brushing twice daily could cause more harm that good. 
  • 25% of Brits don’t brush twice daily and nearly 3% suffer from tooth decay

A dental expert said that the traditional advice to brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes may not be correct. 

Brushing your teeth for four to five minutes is better, as it removes more plaque. 

According to Dr Josefine Hirschfeld (a lecturer in restorative Dentistry at the University of Birmingham), this is true. 

She also stated that brushing twice a day could actually cause more harm than good. 

It brings a brighter smile and banishes bad breath but is two minutes of brushing twice a day enough? A dental expert says people should instead consider brushing for up to four minutes twice a day to get rid of the most of the teeth and gum harming plaque

It makes your smile brighter and prevents bad breath. But is two minutes of brushing twice per day enough? Dental experts recommend that people brush for as long as four minutes twice per day to remove most of the plaque from their teeth and gums.


  • Use toothpaste to clean the brush head 
  • Hold the brush at a 45° angle
  • Turn on the electric brush, and move it tooth-to-tooth.
  • Move the toothbrush along the chewing surfaces of each tooth’s front, back, and chewing surfaces.
  • For several seconds, hold the toothbrush over each tooth’s surface. 
  • Don’t scrub too hard. You can just guide the brush over each tooth. 
  • Continue to clean each tooth for approximately two minutes. 
  • After you are done, rinse the brush with water and let it dry.

Source: Oral-B 

This is due to excessive brushing, especially when using toothbrushes with hard bristles or abrasive toothpastes, which can wear away the protective enamel and cause damage to the gums. 

Britons have been told to brush their teeth for at least two minutes since the 1970s. This guidance is what the NHS recommends for healthy gums. 

Recent studies suggest that this is not enough to provide good dental hygiene.  

Dr Hirschfeld stated that while studies have shown that brushing for two minutes can reduce plaque, longer brushing was proven to be more effective.

Plaque refers to the sticky, yellowish-coloured or colourless film that forms on your teeth. It is formed by bacteria in your mouth. Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if it is not removed. 

‘Current evidence suggests that spending more time brushing – each time you brush – leads to cleaner teeth,’ she wrote in The Conversation. 

“This is because we can clean our teeth more efficiently and reach those hard-to-reach areas with a longer brushing time.”

Dr Hirschfeld cautioned that brushing three times per day or more could cause damage to your teeth. 

She advised that you avoid brushing too often (such a twice daily rate) and that you don’t use abrasive toothpastes or brushes. This can cause damage to your teeth and gums. 

Your mouth may not be the only thing that is affected by poor oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to dementia and arthritis, according to some studies.

After it was revealed that one in four Brits had to do their own dentistry during the Covid lockdown, which saw many dentists close their doors, oral health in the UK was in the spotlight. 

The Oral Health Foundation, a dental charity, claims that 25% of Brits don’t brush twice daily and 31% suffer from tooth decay. 

About 90% of Americans have had at least one cavity.