Whether we’re half asleep in the morning or on our way to bed in the evening, we often brush our teeth absent-mindedly. It has become so routine that we don’t even really think about what we are doing, or if we are doing it effectively. Here are five important teeth brushing tips that you’re probably forgetting to do.

Tip #1: Brush at a 45 degree angle.

The health of our teeth and gums then suffer from our lack of attention. It is important to brush at the proper angle so that the intended results can be achieved. The goal is not just to clean the last meal from your teeth but also to remove plaque, which leads to tooth decay. The ideal brushing angle helps prevent gum disease, which has been linked to many other systemic diseases.

Tip #2: Don’t forget to brush the insides of your teeth that face the tongue.

Jessica Hilburg, DDS and associate dean for clinical affairs at the NYU College of Dentistry told HuffPost, “Sometimes people forget to brush the insides of their teeth, the surfaces that face the tongue and the palate. People forget these areas because we don’t see them when we look in the mirror. Food and plaque can build up in these areas so it’s just as important to brush there as it is on the front of our teeth where we can easily see.” It’s always important to go back to basics and make sure that you’re brushing your teeth with proper technique.

Tip #3: It is better to use gentler strokes repetitively rather than aggressive “scrubbing.”

This gentler brushing will encourage healthy gums and reduce irritation, swelling, and bleeding. Despite most of us thinking that we’re brushing our teeth correctly or flossing frequently enough, dentist visits are often full of surprises. Irritation, cavities, gingivitis ― the list of potential maladies goes on and on.

Tip #4: Be sure you go over every surface of the tooth keeping the bristles angled against the gumline.

By angling the bristles towards the gum line, you increase the probability of disrupting and removing any residual plaque.

Tip #5: Don’t forget to brush your tongue to keep your breath fresh and remove any lingering bacteria.

The tongue (and mouth in general) is a moist region that can be a feeding ground for bacteria if you let it. Don’t forget to use the bristles to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

BONUS Tip: It is recommended to see your dentist at least twice a year. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to brush and floss competently to ensure optimum oral health.