AskDefine | Define brushing

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of brushing your teeth; "the dentist recommended two brushes a day" [syn: brush]
2 the act of brushing your hair; "he gave his hair a quick brush" [syn: brush]

User Contributed Dictionary



Verb form

  1. present participle of brush


  1. An instance of brushing.
    Give your shoes a brushing to get the mud off.

Extensive Definition

Tooth brushing is the act of cleaning teeth with a toothbrush.
Modern medical research has shown that brushing teeth properly can prevent cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal, or gum disease, which causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss. If teeth are not brushed correctly and frequently, it could lead to the calcification of saliva minerals, forming tartar.
Brushing one's teeth has long been considered an important part of dental care. As long ago as 3000 B.C. ancient Egyptians constructed crude toothbrushes from twigs and leaves to clean their teeth. Similarly, other cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, and Indians cleaned their teeth with twigs. Some would fray one end of the twig so that it could penetrate between the teeth more effectively.

Brushing process

Brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums.
  • Place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  • Move the brush up and down gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Use the "toe" of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  • Brush tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.


The toothbrush is an instrument used to clean teeth, consisting of a small brush on a handle. Toothpaste, often containing fluoride, is commonly added to a toothbrush to aid in cleaning. Toothbrushes are offered with varying textures of bristles, and come in many different sizes and forms. Most dentists recommend using a toothbrush labelled "Soft", since firmer bristled toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel and irritate gums as indicated by the American Dental Association. Toothbrushes are often made from synthetic fibers, although natural toothbrushes are also known in many parts of the world.


Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used to clean and improve the aesthetic appearance and health of teeth. It is almost always used in conjunction with a toothbrush. Toothpaste use can promote good oral hygiene: it can aid in the removal of dental plaque and food from the teeth, it can aid in the elimination and/or masking of halitosis, and it can deliver active ingredients such as fluoride to prevent tooth and gums (Gingiva) disease.

See also

brushing in Min Nan: Sé-chhùi
brushing in Japanese: 歯磨き
brushing in Tamil: பல் துலக்குதல்
brushing in Thai: การแปรงฟัน
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