Journal List > J Korean Acad Oral Health > v.39(3) > 1057648

Kim, Kim, Lee, Kwon, and Kim: A comparison of tooth brushing methods recommended in different countries



The aim of this study was to compare the tooth brushing methods recommended by dental associations and toothbrush manufacturers in various countries including South Korea.


Eighteen countries―6 Asian, 2 North American, 2 Oceanian, and 8 European―were selected from members of the OECD, EU, and APEC, using information obtained from the primary email address of each dental association and information obtained from the websites of the associations regarding the officially recommended tooth brushing methods. In addition, 12 major toothbrush manufacturers were selected based on their market share, including 4 Asian manufacturers, 2 North American, and 2 European. Information about recommended tooth brushing methods was obtained from their websites.


The countries recommending a particular tooth brushing method by name were South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. While South Korea recommended the “rolling” technique, Hong Kong and Taiwan recommended the “bass” technique. Except for these countries, the other countries presented their recommended methods by explaining the initial position or motion of the toothbrush. The most commonly recommended method was tilting the brush head at an angle of 45 degrees to the gingival margin; this was recommended by 8 countries (44%) and 6 toothbrush manufacturers (75%). Brushing with a vibrating motion was also recommended by 9 countries (50%) and 4 manufacturers (50%).


The most recommended brushing method was initially positioning the toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees to the gingival margin and using a vibrating motion, which is effective against periodontal diseases. However, South Korea recommended the rolling technique, which is effective for controlling dental plaque. Given the high frequency with which periodontal disease occurs in South Korea, vibrating the toothbrush on the gingival margin should be recommended in addition to the rolling technique.


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Fig. 1.
The number of organizations according to recommended tooth brushing motions.
Table 1.
Sources of information provided for dental associations an toothbrush manufacturers
Group Sources of information
Dental associations
South Korea*
Hong Kong*
New Zealand*
Singapore Information sent by E-mail
Sweden Information sent by E-mail
United Kingdom*
United States of America*
Toothbrush manufacturers
LG household & health care*
(South Korea)
Aekyung (South Korea)*
Crest (USA)*
Oral-B (USA)*
Curaden (Swiss)*
Tepe (Sweden)*
Lion (Japan)*
Sunstar (Japan)*

*Websites visited between December 17, 2014 and February 14, 2015.

Table 2.
Classification of tooth brushing methods
Classification of tooth brushing methods Explanation Illustration
Rolling Rolling the toothbrush by wrist rotation jkaoh-39-195fu1.tif
Bass Gently vibrate the toothbrush bristles at 45 degree angle along the gumline in sulcus jkaoh-39-195fu2.tif
Stillman Vibrate the toothbrush bristles at 45 degree angle on the gingiva jkaoh-39-195fu3.tif
Initial Positions
Angulation 45o, inclined, sloping jkaoh-39-195fu4.tif
Up-down Up-down jkaoh-39-195fu5.tif
Circle Circular, small circular jkaoh-39-195fu6.tif
Scrubbing Small scrubbing motion, gentle scrub, small rubbing jkaoh-39-195fu7.tif
Vibration Gently wiggle, gentle strokes, short strokes, brush back & forth in short, vibrate movements, very short horizontal movement jkaoh-39-195fu8.tif

*These pictures were from the Textbook of oral care products.

Table 3.
Tooth brushing methods recommended by dental associations and toothbrush manufacturers
Group Classification of tooth brushing methods
Nomenclatures Motions Initial positions
Dental associations
South Korea Rolling Rolling
Australia Circle, Scrubbing, Vibration
Belgium Circle 45o
Canada Up-down, Circle, Scrubbing, Vibration 45o
Denmark Circle, Scrubbing, Vibration Sloping
Finland Inclined
Hong Kong Bass Vibration 45o
Japan Vibration 45o
Malaysia Recommended all methods
New Zealand Scrubbing, Vibration 45o
Norway Recommended all methods
Portugal Circle
Singapore Recommended all methods
Sweden Vibration 45o
Switzerland Up-down
Taiwan Bass Vibration, Rolling 45o
United Kingdom Circle
United States of America Up-down, Vibration 45o
Toothbrush manufacturers
LG household & health care (South Korea) Rolling Rolling
Aekyung (South Korea) Rolling Rolling, Vibration 45o
Crest (USA) Up-down 45o
Oral-B (USA) Up-down 45o
Curaden (Swiss) Circle 45o
Tepe (Sweden) Vibration
Lion (Japan) Vibration 45o
Sunstar (Japan) Circle, Vibration 45o
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