Oral hygiene is an everyday practice. A daily routine should be adopted and followed to ensure the health of your teeth and the beauty of your smile. Good oral hygiene doesn’t just come from regular dental examinations and cleanings; it comes from solid practices at home.
Keeping your mouth healthy with good oral hygiene isn’t just about looking and feeling good. Being able to keep your teeth for your whole life in order eat a variety of foods and to speak with proper oral health.
What should a healthy mouth look and feel like?
A healthy mouth should have the following characteristics:
- Clean teeth that are free of debris.
- Gums that are pink, not overly sensitive, and do not bleed when you brush or floss.
- No constant pain in your teeth or gums.
- Bad breath is not an ongoing problem.
What should I do at home to maintain good oral hygiene?
Each and every day, you need to work at keeping your teeth and mouth clean. Practice the following to keep your mouth healthy and prevent a variety of illnesses that go beyond your teeth and gums:
- Brush twice a day: Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. The first time you brush should be either right when you wake up or immediately following breakfast. The second time should be before bed. Do not consume anything besides medications and water after your bedtime brushing. It is okay to brush a third time in the middle of the day. Just be careful not to brush too hard as this can wear away the enamel on your teeth. It is recommended to brush for at least 2 minutes, giving 30 seconds to each “zone” of your mouth (top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right). If it takes you longer, it is okay. An electric toothbrush is always a good investment.
- Floss twice a day: Try to find floss that contains fluoride. If you can, floss in the morning and at night. Or in the middle of the day, then before bed. If you can only floss once a day, do so right before bed. Do not consume anything besides medications and water after your bedtime floss. It is better to floss before you brush because it will help clear the space between your teeth so when you brush, the fluoride from the toothpaste can reach those spots in-between teeth. When flossing, make sure to wrap the floss around each tooth. If you need instructions on how to floss, ask your dentist or dental hygienist and they will be happy to show you.
- Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse (optional or if recommended by your dentist): A good fluoride-rich rinse such as ACT will help give your teeth a good coating to prevent cavities. It is recommended to rinse at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. Ask your dental professional if you need to use mouthwash and which type may be best for you.
What more should I do for good oral hygiene?
While maintaining good practices at home to keep your mouth clean and healthy is critical, professional assistance is still necessary to maintain the best oral health for the long-term. It is important to see a dentist at least twice a year for a dental exam and teeth cleaning. A visit to your dentist will do some very important things:
- Locate any cavities that need to be removed and filled.
- Determine if tooth decay is present.
- Examine gum coloring for signs of gingivitis or illness.
- Determine if gum pockets or recession are present, which may require further action to protect your teeth and gums.
- Evaluate home oral health routine to see if improvements can be made.
- See if there is a connection between oral health and other symptoms/illnesses experienced by the patient.
- Share innovations in dental technology that could make at-home maintenance easier or more effective.