People have difficulty agreeing on the same ideas and things and it appears that even the proper way to brush one's teeth also receives different views and recommendations. In a new study, researchers found that people, including dental experts, do not agree on the best way to brush the teeth.

For the study published in the British Dental Journal on Aug. 8, a team of researchers from the University College London (UCL) examined the recommendations provided by dental associations, dental textbooks, as well as toothpaste and toothbrush companies on the best way to brush the teeth.

The researchers observed that there was lack of agreement on the recommended brushing techniques, frequency of brushing, and for how long. They also found that brushing recommendations for adults and children differed as well.

"In this study we found an unacceptably inconsistent array of advice from different sources," said study author Aubrey Sheiham, from the UCL. "Most worryingly, the methods recommended by dental associations are not the same as the best ones mentioned in dental textbooks."

Of the brushing methods though, the researchers found that the Modified Bass technique [video] is the most widely recommended albeit they pointed out that this method is not particularly the most effective when it comes to improving oral hygiene. For one, no particular brushing method has been proven to be better than another. Study author and practicing dentist John Wainwright attributed the wide range of recommended brushing techniques to the lack of evidence that could show one method is better than the other.

The researchers, however, raised concern that the discrepancies over the proper way of brushing the teeth are something to be concerned about. Sheiham said that the public should get sound information on the best way to brush the teeth. She said that people would be confused on how to brush their teeth properly if they hear varying recommendations from a dental association, dentist and toothbrush companies.

Given the different and conflicting recommendations from dental experts, the researchers said that there is a need for a research that would assess the effectiveness of different brushing methods.

"The unacceptably large diversity in recommendations on what toothbrushing method to use should concern the dental profession," the researchers wrote. "Higher grades of evidence of effectiveness of toothbrushing techniques are required to inform professional bodies that develop guidelines on toothbrushing."

Pending such research, it may be worth noting what the researchers recommend to their patients. Wainwright shared that he advises his patients to focus brushing on the areas where plaques likely accumulate such as the areas where the teeth and gums meet and the biting surfaces using a gentle scrubbing motion.

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