Some oral hygiene rules are commonly introduced at a young age. Brushing twice a day, flossing before bed, and seeing the dentist every six months, to name a few. Signs of good oral hygiene include teeth free of debris, strong gums that don’t bleed or hurt when you floss, and fresher breath.

All good oral hygiene starts with getting the basics down. Effective brushing and flossing techniques leave your mouth looking and smelling clean. Let’s review good brushing habits:

  • Maximize the time you spend brushing with intentional strokes along rows of teeth.
  • Swiftly brush back to front along chewing surfaces and in small circles on the face of each tooth.
  • Without brushing too hard, tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle and roll or sweep strokes away from the gum line.

When flossing, make sure to clean beneath the gum line, gently follow the curve of each tooth, and avoid snapping the floss on your gums. You should brush at least twice a day, and floss after your last meal or snack. Aside from committing to a consistent cleaning schedule or learning good brushing and flossing techniques, there are several other oral hygiene tips that can greatly improve your daily dental routine.

10 healthy oral hygiene habits you can adopt today:

1. Invest in an electric toothbrush.
Be sure the battery-powered or rechargeable toothbrush you select is sonic with a quadrant timer. Sonic brushes are able to dislodge plaque, ensuring the brush is cleaning beyond where the bristles can touch.

2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue.
Use a brush with a tongue scraper or buy a tongue scraper separately to use after brushing.

3. Replace your toothbrush to prevent bacteria build-up.
Soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide or mouthwashes with antibacterial agents will keep the brush you have clean, but the brush should still be replaced every 3 to 4 months.

4. Use a therapeutic mouth rinse.
Some mouthwash only freshens breath, but therapeutic mouth rinses have special ingredients that strengthen teeth and help treat oral health conditions like gingivitis. Talk with your dentist about which rinse is best for you.

5. Bring mouthwash and little toothpicks or floss sticks on the go.
Stash travel size mouthwash and floss sticks in your car, purse, or another convenient place so you can floss or rinse away from home if need be.

6. Be aware of bad habits and the long-term effects they have on teeth.
Avoid bad habits and nervous ticks like teeth grinding, nail-biting, ice crunching, and smoking.

7. Limit snacks between meals.
Try not to graze all day unless you can commit to a quick floss after each snack.

8. Drink water after every meal and snack.
Rinse your mouth by drinking water after every time you eat.

9. Eat teeth-friendly foods and limit soda and alcohol intake.
Following a nutrient-rich diet that’s healthy for your body may not be great for your teeth. There are many foods that might seem healthy at first glance but are harmful additives to a daily diet.

10. Schedule cleanings with your dentist two times a year.
Prevent long-term plaque build-up and untreated cavities by visiting the dentist every 6 months.

Fortunately, adopting a daily oral hygiene routine is easier than trying to quit other long-practiced habits like smoking or drinking. Encouraging good oral hygiene habits and scheduling routine dental care greatly decreases your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, or developing other dental conditions. Commit to a regular cleaning routine with these oral hygiene instructions and you’ll be on your way to a cleaner smile in no time.

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