There are various claims about how long a tooth brushing session should last for proper dental hygiene. I have heard that 3 minutes is the time and that my tooth brushing sessions should be consecrated to that.
Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that's right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch.
Arm and Hammer says:
For best results, we recommend brushing your teeth for 2 minutes. Using a battery-powered toothbrush doesn't mean you can brush for less time, but it can make those 2 minutes more effective.
University of Maryland recommends a longer session:
Generally, brushing is recommended twice a day for at least three to four minutes each time. Patients generally think they are brushing long enough, when, in fact, most people spend less than one minute brushing. In addition, it is generally better to brush 3 to 4 minutes twice a day instead of brushing quickly five or more times throughout the day.
Where do these numbers come from and why are they recommended? Can I brush more intensely for less time than is recommended or more softly for more time than is recommended? I always do it in less than 2 minutes and hard enough (of course not to the point of damaging my gums!!) so I feel a thorough hygiene.
Is it possible to get as much benefit from a brushing session lasting less than 2 minutes that I need for acceptable dental health? Does exceeding the recommended time significantly cause problems?