Confused about how often, how long and the best way to brush your teeth? Don't worry, everybody is, including dentists.According to a new meta-analysis of 58 studies published in dental journals, recommendations vary widely on almost every aspect of brushing. 

For instance, 26 sources recommended brushing for up to two minutes while 12 suggest two-to-three minutes and two recommend brushing for three minutes.

Frequency is another bone of contention. While 42 sources recommended twice daily brushing, another source is firm on brushing teeth three times daily.

Finally, there are different types of brushing techniques, which vary by the type and location of brush stroke. It's the aspect of tooth care in which no consensus exists.

Eleven studies recommend the “Bass” technique: mostly horizontal, with some vertical and circular motion. Ten endorse “Fones”: large, sweeping, circular motions, with the brush at a right angle to teeth.  Five favor the “Scrub” approach: horizontal motions, parallel to the gums; and two recommend “Stillman”: primarily vertical brush movements.

The analysis, published in the British Dental Journal, points to more agreement and streamlining of dental recommendations so that both the public and dentists can understand the best way to brush.