Your first line of defense against plaque is, of course, regular tooth brushing. To prevent plaque buildup, you need to brush at least twice a day for a minimum of 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, paying close attention to all surfaces of the teeth and your tongue. Strokes should be short and vertical -- but you shouldn't use a lot of pressure while brushing. When you're done, rinse your toothbrush well, shake it out and let it dry thoroughly. And according to Howard Sesemann, president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, it doesn't matter if you use a manual or electric toothbrush as long as you use the proper brushing techniques [source: Doheny].