Monday Mission: Learn How to Brush Your Teeth Like an Adult

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Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to learn how to brush your teeth like an adult.

I’m rating this one as “baby steps” because you don’t have to buy anything new or find more time in your already-packed day to complete the mission, but it’s far from simple.

That phrase about “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is very applicable here, at least for me.

Brush your teeth like an adult - Bass Brushing Technique and toothbrushes

Imagine how many times you’ve probably brushed your teeth in your life:

Your Age x 365 x 2 (give or take a few misses) =  A LOT!

You most certainly have a habit of how you brush.

For me, it’s in a pattern, bottom to top, and FAST. In fact, both my husband and I have been chastised in recent years by our dentists that we’re brushing our teeth too hard and wearing away our gums.

I have a feeling plenty of overworked, overtired, people – especially busy parents – have the same problem! It seems more efficient if you brush harder and move the brush itself faster, no?


Our family received a family pack of Bass toothbrushes from my affiliate partner, Orawellness, a few months ago and watched their Bass brushing technique video one night as I was making dinner.

I was totally fascinated.

I know, super dork, fascinated by a video of someone brushing his teeth. I might as well be in kindergarten during “Dental Health Week” learning how to brush my teeth and getting stickers or something, but once I tell you about it, I think you’ll agree.

And I bet you’ll have a hard time learning a new trick, too, since you’ve likely been brushing your teeth in the same way since you were a child, just like me — but I’m glad I’m working at it.

Welcome to “Oral Health Week” at Kitchen Stewardship!

Bass Brushing Technique

You can watch the video here:

If you can’t see the video above, view it at You Tube HERE.

For those of you who might not have 8 minutes and are quick readers (raises hand), here’s a synopsis:

  • The Bass Brushing Technique is scientifically proven to “disrupt, disorganize, and remove the bad bugs that cause gum disease in our mouth.”
  • Dr. Bass was a young but very bright and successful physician.
  • He was diagnosed with advanced gum disease and recommended to have all his teeth pulled.
  • He turned to science instead.
  • He took swabs from his own mouth and studied them to see the gum disease causing bacteria. He had lots!
  • He then did experiments to figure out how best to remove or kill the bad bacteria. He would swab his mouth, count the bacteria, brush in a certain way, then swab and count again, until he found the most effective method.
  • He learned some things about oral  health:
    • The bad bugs hang out along the gum line.
    • Toothbrushes weren’t doing the job, because they had too many bristles and mashed the bacteria around on the teeth.
  • The solution to the toothbrush problem was to pull bristles out until he got a toothbrush that could get in along the gum line and root out the bad bacteria. The result is the Bass toothbrush, which admittedly looks a bit “dollar store” at first glance, but it has fewer bristles and rounded tips that won’t etch the enamel on the teeth or irritate the gums. (One of the most common signs of gum disease is receding gums caused by brushing too hard with stiff bristles.) Um…I guess that’s why even though I’m young and healthy, I’m in that statistic that says that 90% of Americans have some form of gum disease. Darn.

Learn how to brush your teeth with Bass toothbrushes

See how far apart the bristles are? Compare this to your toothbrush, I dare you. Go on, hold it up to the screen now. Winking smile

  • The technique Dr. Bass found to work the best is now called the “Bass Brushing Technique,” and it works like this:
    • Brush along the gum line, angled in, where the teeth rise up out of the gums.
    • Use “micromovements,” very small back-and-forth vibrating motions.
      • Children don’t have the fine motor control to do these tiny movements (and parents may not have the patience, but that’s fixable).
    • Count to five in each position before moving on.
  • As far as what toothpaste to use, I don’t know that Dr. Bass recommended one, but you don’t want anything abrasive for sure, and we’ll talk a bit more about fluoride later in the week, or you can see the Monday Mission I’ve already posted on it HERE.
  • You can do the technique with a conventional toothbrush, although it doesn’t seem to be quite as effective since there are too many bristles to be able to wiggle down between the teeth and gums.
  • The happy ending? Dr. Bass died an old man with all his teeth in his mouth, even though he was supposed to lose them as a young man.

The way I understand it is a paradigm shift:

The way I used to think about brushing my teeth was that it was the chance to get the food out of my teeth so that the bad bacteria didn’t have food to eat. I focused on the chewing surfaces of my molars as the most important areas.

Now I think about brushing the bacteria themselves away (and the food too, but not as the primary or only goal). I focus on the gum line and getting around all my teeth thoroughly, using micromovements and gentle fingers.

That part is so hard! I want to just grab the toothbrush in my fist and power through, but I have to force myself to use my fingertips, move the brush quickly but not very far, and stay in one for a count of five.

Two Drops to Brush Your Teeth

Orawellness Bass toothbrushes and essential oil brushing blend are the start to a healthy oral routine

The Orawellness brushing blend of anti-bacterial botanicals works to kill the bad bacteria while you’re brushing along the gum line. Just like the Bass technique is a totally new habit, using two drops of mostly essential oils is a very different experience from a conventional toothpaste that fills your mouth with foam.

There’s no foaming up, no bubbles, no big squeeze of pink or blue on your toothbrush…but you DO get that “fresh” feeling after brushing, because the ingredients in the brushing blend are organic and wildcrafted essentials oils of:

  • cinnamon
  • peppermint
  • spearmint
  • clove
  • myrrh
  • manuka

…in a base of organic almond oil.

Check out this article for an explanation about why each ingredient is included. They are mainly antibacterial but work on different types of bacteria with various effectiveness, and some are soothing/healing. It’s kind of fascinating, really. Plus, talk about minty freshness!

Even my husband, who is the world’s greatest skeptic when it comes to this natural schtuff, says he thinks (a) the toothbrush really does get more off/out of the teeth than a normal brush, and (b) the brushing blend makes his teeth feel squeaky clean and very fresh. I think he uses the stuff more consistently than anyone else in the family, which is very rare for our new “natural” options.




Whether you spring for new toothbrushes and the brushing blend or just try the Bass technique with  whatever toothbrush you currently have, I encourage you to give it a try.

You could even whip up some homemade toothpaste, which is still on my to-do list; probably not going to get around to that until after our son’s First Communion this weekend – exciting! I want to make the tooth powder from Heather Dessinger’s DIY Organic Beauty Recipes (still 20% off with the code KS20 through the end of April – my review HERE).

If you’re curious about what the KS kids think, they say the brushing blend is a “little too spicy” for their liking. My son can handle it but wouldn’t prefer it, and after the novelty wore off  of the first time or two for my daughter, she’d really rather not use it. (I have a solution for that coming in a giveaway Wednesday!!)

I’m hoping we find the time tonight to make our own video of the Bass technique, because as much as I appreciated the Orawellness video, I want something closer up and with narration while brushing. If we get to it, I’ll post tomorrow!

Does your dentist tell you to stop brushing so hard? What do you think of the “new” technique?

Orawellness also put out a “HealThy Mouth Summit” back in January that was amazing. If you have serious oral health issues or questions, you may want to look at the list of topics and speakers and carve out some time to listen. I’ll be sharing what I learned from Dr. Bruce Fife about oil pulling later this week.

Other Oral Health Posts:

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Orawellness and DIY recipes from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

22 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Tammy says

    Great information. I’ve had dentists in the past tell me not to brush so hard and that I was damaging my gums. That was a number of years ago and I stopped. My husband always insisted on using “hard” bristled brushes and I explained that was damaging his gums and that he needed “soft” bristled tooth brushes. Another tooth brush I used to help me, though this was when I was single and could afford it more readily, was SoniCare. It did the micro movements for me. It worked really well. (A 4 box brush set lasted a year, now it would only last 3 months with the four of us. Harder to justify that expense.)
    I wonder how using a baking soda / essential oil blend or baking soda / hydrogen peroxide blend would work. Is baking soda considered too abrasive on teeth and gums?

    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your son’s First Communion! That is a super special day. :-)

    • Karen says

      The SoniCare has done wonders for my teeth/gums. I am an ‘agressive’ brusher and since using the sonicare my gum recession has improved in most areas. I know how much root canals and crowns cost (fun times!), so the expensive of brush heads is easier to justify. BTW, we found Costco has the best prices for replacement brush heads.

      I recently bought the kids sonicare for my daughter–who has my wonderful soft and pitted teeth. She likes it and it has a timer, so I know she’s brushing for more than 10 seconds.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      I’m almost certain that it’s not – I think someone on some past post even shared the actual “abrasiveness” number of baking soda, and it’s really not bad at all. But that may have been for counters, so it’s something to look up to doublecheck. I wonder if Orawellness addresses that? It sure is used by a lot of people…

      :) Katie

      • Tammy says

        Thanks for that tip, Katie! I looked it up based on what you said. Baking Soda has the VERY lowest of all “abrasives” for teeth at 7.
        I will definitely be buying tooth brushes from this company. The tooth oil is a bit pricey, for our budget at this time, though.

  2. Angie W says

    I too have had the “gum disease” talk at the dentist. My dentist told me to brush where my gums meet my teeth at a 45 degree angle for a minimum of an 8 count per tooth. Since doing that and making our own toothpaste (just like Earthpaste!) I haven’t had any problems! :)

  3. says

    I’ve wondered lately what the “time tested” version of oral health is. I know oral health is important, and is probably one area where modern discovery and technology has improved life and health very much. But I wonder what people did hundreds + years ago. Is there some kind of natural way that the mouth protects itself without necessarily brushing and cleaning with minty foam upwards of 2-3 times per day?
    Not trying to get out of tooth brushing, promise! :) Just curious.

    • Tammy says

      In reading “Protein Power” by Drs. Eades (husband and wife team), they quoted research that showed that non-grain diet eaters had very good teeth and overall health, while grain eaters, such as the Egyptians from all economic scenarios had poor teeth and poor overall health – obesity, arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc. I’ve also read studies that those who drink whole, raw milk have much better teeth than those of us growing up on pasteurized milk.

  4. Amanda says

    I was curious about how many ‘servings’ are in each bottle? About how long would you expect it to last, saying you use 2 drops twice a day to brush?

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      I looked up how many drops of essential oils are in 1 mL, and it’s 20. The bottle is 15 mL, so…doing math…should last 50 days at 6 drops a day. I can just about guarantee it will be longer than that! We’re only at about half a bottle used…first of all, I only use 2 drops and the kids use one. I’m cheap! Also, totally guessing there’s just got to be more drops in there than 300. Hope that helps a little bit! :) Katie

  5. audrey says

    how long does the brushing blend last if you use 3 drops every time you brush assuming you brush twice a day?

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      As I said to Amanda, I looked up how many drops of essential oils are in 1 mL, and it’s 20. The bottle is 15 mL, so…doing math…should last 50 days at 6 drops a day. I can just about guarantee it will be longer than that! We’re only at about half a bottle used…first of all, I only use 2 drops and the kids use one. I’m cheap! Also, totally guessing there’s just got to be more drops in there than 300. Hope that helps a little bit! :) Katie

  6. says

    Definitely giving this a try! I brush fast… hubs brushes hard. VERY interested in the brushes too. I’ll be buying some of those ASAP.

    We also ditched toothpaste altogether. Been a couple months now. Just brush, floss, and rinse with homemade mouth wash (water, peppermint essential oil, and hydrogen peroxide OR grapefruit seed extract). You’d never know the difference! Toothpaste= waste of $$$… 😛 (I’ll note that the OralWellness Brushing Blend does look good though!)

  7. says

    That’s a nice easy change, My sister so needs this, she is brushing her gums away. After having bleeding gums for my entire life I have been making an effort to floss every night, works wonders, now they only bleed if I don’t do it for a week.

    Will have get those oils for my tooth powder, I use 2 of them already. Funny thing is with the tooth powder it’s making my teeth so white the tea stains that it isn’t lifting and the grey tooth I got as a child is looking worse :(

  8. says

    Really interesting post! I’ve had the gum talk at my dentist too… I brush fast and really “thoroughly” so my gums have started to recede some. My dentist got me onto a softer bristle brush and keeps reminding me that I need to do small circles instead of just back and forth motions. :-/ Habits are hard to break though. The way you describe sounds like it would be way better, but it also sounds sooooo painstaking. lol! oh man!

  9. alexandra says

    This is such a timely post! thank you!!!

    My husband just went to a new dentist. He felt the old one was overlooking some serious issues. The new dentist found TEN cavities. He wants hubby to use super fluoride (prescription level) and mouthwash. I said, hmmm, surely there is a natural way to do this. I have read way to much about fluoride to want to UP that! We haven’t been using fluoride toothpaste for several years and we both floss a lot.
    Maybe our brushing just isn’t up to par. We will give this a try.
    thanks again!
    I LOVE this blog.

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Ouch, ten??? I bet the dentist wasn’t happy to hear that you’re using non-fluoride toothpaste…

      I wonder about dietary reasons…the whole Cure Tooth Decay book really frowns on grains, especially for those whose teeth are already prone to problems. Might be able to fix the issues with diet…?

      Good luck!

      • Lizi says

        Yes the book cure tooth decay has great insights into grain based diets being related to more tooth decay. Interesting, if you look at Weston a price’ s studies on different traditional cultures, the ones with the least or zero grain consumption has the best teeth. Grains raise blood sugar which pulls calcium from our teeth and also messes with the parotid gland, which is responsible for regulating mineralization of teeth. Also very important to get plenty of fat soluble vitamins, such as A,D,E,K which not only help maintain proper parotid functioning for optimally mineralized teeth, but help place and keep calcium and minerals where they belong- in our teeth and bones, not our arteries, for example. This was another area the traditional diets studied by price were superior to ours, way more fat soluble vitamins.

        Cheers to fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil!!

  10. says

    I have really great teeth and gums. The dentist always comments on it. Part of it I’m sure is just luck, but these are the things I do that I think are making a difference:

    I look for toothbrushes that have some narrow rows or small clumps of bristles that are taller than the others. These help to clean under the gum line like the Bass brush, but they are easily found in mainstream stores and purchased with coupons and such.

    Every 2-3 days, I rinse my mouth with straight hydrogen peroxide. I take maybe about 2 tsp. and swish it around all my teeth and spit it out, then rinse with water several times. Peroxide kills germs and is able to bubble stuff out from under the gumline. I find it especially helpful if I get food stuck in the “sockets” where two of my wisdom teeth were removed–it is not painful like scraping them out with a toothbrush. Peroxide may also be the reason my teeth are white enough to suit me, despite my drinking a lot of coffee!

  11. Reese says

    What are your thoughts on the Blotting technique because it’s principles are similar to the Bass technique.

    What material are the bristles (nylon)?

    What do you think about brushing teeth with activated charcoal using a q-tip? I found it to be very cleansing.

    Thank you!

    • says

      I’d never heard of the Blotting technique until just now – it does look a bit similar, but one site I read said to change your brush every 2-4 weeks! Yowza!

      I’m really not sure what the bristles are made of, but I’m sure Will and Susan at Orawellness would be happy to help you out with that question. And I love all the uses for activated charcoal! I wonder if you could use it with this Bass toothbrush to get in between things? I would think that would be a downfall of the Qtip, too fat?

      Good questions! :) Katie

  12. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

    Makes sense to me! I always say similar about hand washing, that it’s the rubbing that does most of the work, then the water, and the soap is just a helper. So too with brushing teeth, I’m sure! :) Katie

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