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Dry Tooth Brushing

By Denise Stern ; Updated July 18, 2017

Tooth brushing is necessary for optimal dental health. It helps prevent tooth decay, disease and tooth loss, suggests KidsHealth. While you're taught to use fluoride-enhanced toothpaste for brushing several times a day, you may also add the benefits of dry brushing, which means that you can also brush several times a day without water or toothpaste. Used in combination, wet and dry brushing may help protect your oral health and reduce chances of cavities, plaque buildup and periodontal or gum disease.


Dry tooth brushing is often suggested by dentists so that you can actually see the area of the teeth you've brushed without your vision being hampered by foaming toothpaste. This method also enables you to see where areas of the gum may be reddened or irritated by brushing, or to help determine whether or not your gums are bleeding after you've brushed, suggests dentist John Reitz of Signature Dental Care.


Dry tooth brushing offers a number of benefits for oral health. According to John Reitz, many people miss the lower inside arch of the lower jaw, where plaque buildup often occurs fastest. Dry brushing may help reduce the amount of plaque buildup in this area, and also massage the gums for oral health. Dry brushing the gums may help reduce gum sensitivity and bleeding. Toothpastes provide bacteria-fighting properties that help protect against decay and cavities, according to Oral Care and Health Daily.


Using a dry toothbrush without any toothpaste on it, start brushing the teeth by reaching the toothbrush so that the bristles clean the teeth located on the inside of the lower jaw. Continue to brush in an up and down motion, moving from the top of the teeth to the bottom to help remove tartar and plaque. Hold the bristles of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, suggests the American Dental Hygienists' Association. You can then brush up and down or in a circular motion on the surface of two to three teeth at a time.

Combination Wet and Dry Brushing

You can combine the benefits of dry and wet brushing by dry brushing first, then wet brushing, suggests Oral Care and Health Daily. The abrasive action of brushing the surface of the teeth without toothpaste and water may help reduce the amount of germs, plaque and tarter on the teeth. Then follow the dry brushing with a good brushing using water and toothpaste for the benefits provided by fluoride, as well as fresher breath.


Individuals diagnosed with receding gums or sensitive teeth may find dry brushing irritating. Talk to your dentist about dry brushing if you've been diagnosed with either.

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