Oral hygiene is essential to prevent tooth decay and to maintain healthy teeth. (1)
The Best Oral Hygiene Routine
An effective oral hygiene routine starts with a few simple steps:
- Brushing: To get the best oral hygiene results from toothbrushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, according to the American Dental Association. Use short strokes to move the brush over each tooth. For complete oral hygiene, be sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, including the front and back sides of all your upper and lower teeth. Also, gently brush your tongue. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months to maintain oral hygiene. (3), (4)
- Flossing: Flossing helps maintain oral hygiene by removing bacteria from areas between the teeth that are hard to reach by brushing alone. To floss your teeth, start with an 18-inch piece of floss, and wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap a small amount around the middle finger of the other hand. Move the floss carefully up and down between each tooth, and make a C-shape with the floss as you reach the gum line. As you move from tooth to tooth, maximize oral hygiene by unwinding new floss from one hand and wind the used floss onto the other hand. (3), (4)
- Rinsing: You can also include a dental rinse as part of your oral hygiene routine. A dental rinse is often recommended for additional oral hygiene if you wear braces.
Best Dental Products for Oral Hygiene
The variety of oral hygiene products makes it easy for anyone to follow a regular oral hygiene routine. Choose toothbrushes and types of dental floss that you find easy and comfortable to use and you’ll be more inclined to stick with your oral hygiene routine.
Consult Your Dentist for Oral Hygiene
Make dental visits part of your oral hygiene routine. Visit your dentist twice a year to help keep tooth stains under control and identify oral hygiene issues before any serious problems arise. (1)
Eat Right for Oral Hygiene
A nutritious, balanced diet is essential for your overall health, and it’s important for your oral hygiene, too. Be sure to include plenty of dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Some foods that are especially good for oral hygiene: cheese, yogurt, milk, and peanuts. These foods can help remove sugars from the tooth surface and protect the teeth from plaque. (1), (5)
Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Teeth White
Following a regular oral hygiene routine can help you maintain whitened teeth and prevent additional tooth staining. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after eating foods or drinking beverages that tend to stain teeth, such as coffee and red wine. If you use at-home teeth-whitening products as part of your oral hygiene routine, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. (2)