Back to the Basics: Oral Hygiene 101

Creating an Oral Hygiene Routine

In Honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, we’re going back to the basics and sharing our guide to creating and maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine. Creating a daily routine is essential if you want to avoid gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other serious consequences of neglecting to brush and floss daily.

Step 1: Brush

The first step in your daily oral hygiene routine should be brushing in the morning, in the evening, and after meals. Brushing in the morning takes care of morning breath and the buildup of bacteria that accumulates overnight when your mouth becomes dry, while brushing in the evening can prevent the buildup of bacteria that lead to bad breath. Brushing after meals to remove leftover food particles and residue prevents the buildup of plaque, tartar, and bacteria that cause cavities, tooth decay, and more.

Toothbrush Subscription Boxes

If you’re having trouble creating or sticking to a health oral hygiene routine, consider investing in a toothbrush subscription box. From electric brushes with replacement heads that are sent through the mail each month, to subscription boxes that include a toothbrush, floss, and other goodies, getting a treat in the mail may increase your chances of looking forward to the process of caring for your teeth.

READ MORE: Top 5 Toothbrush Subscription Boxes

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive, try switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne that prevents sensitivity to both hot and cold food or drink, which can also prevent sensitivity while brushing and flossing. The more you stick to your daily routine, the less sensitive your teeth will become!

READ MORE: How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity

Step 2: Floss

Despite being an essential part of healthy oral hygiene, many people skip flossing. Whether you don’t think flossing is really that essential or you just don’t have time, there are ways to ensure this vital part of your morning routine isn’t overlooked. In addition to removing food that is left behind after brushing, flossing can also prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar that attract the bacteria which cause cavities and tooth decay. Searching for a way to fuel your desire to floss? Check out these tools that make flossing a little less mundane and a little easier to do.


Waterpiks are great tools for anyone having trouble flossing in hard-to-reach places and for those with traditional metal braces or clear retainers. The Waterpik system is also proven to be more effective at removing the buildup of plaque and tartar than traditional flossing, and for children and teens who may not be able to floss effectively without parental supervision, the Waterpik offers a solution that allows them to take control of their oral hygiene routine on their own.

Floss Threaders

Periodontal floss threaders are great for those with traditional metal braces who are unable to floss in the hard-to-reach places between teeth and brackets, but they’re also a simple solution for anyone who has trouble flossing on their own, such as those with arthritis, or children and teens. Floss threaders are also an affordable alternative to traditional flossing, since they can be purchased at most drugstores and pharmacies for less than $5.

Step 3: Refresh

Once you’ve brushed and flossed, it’s time to freshen your breath and your smile. Sticking to a daily oral hygiene routine has been proven to reduce bad breath caused by food and drink, as well as halitosis, or chronic bad breath associated with the buildup of bacteria on the tongue and around the teeth. Whether you want breath that’s always fresh, or you’re looking to knock out chronic bad breath, there are a few ways to make the most of this vital part of your oral hygiene routine.

Mouthwash for Halitosis

If you’re having trouble maintaining fresh breath, a mouthwash designed to prevent and treat halitosis may be beneficial. Two popular brands on the market today include Therabreath and SmartMouth. Both Therabreath and SmartMouth are over-the-counter products that are clinically tested and developed by dentists to treat the sulphuric compounds that cause bad breath.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Freshen Breath

Routine Dental Cleanings and Checkups

If you’re experiencing chronic bad breath, missing routine dental cleanings and checkups could be to blame. In addition to causing cavities, bacteria as well as plaque and tartar can produce compounds that smell unpleasant. Chronic bad breath can also be a sign of gingivitis or other serious conditions, so if you’ve tried multiple solutions with no results, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure you’re not overlooking a periodontal disease.

How to Whiten Teeth

In addition to fresh breath, whiter teeth can also refresh your smile and help you maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine. Whether you choose an at-home whitening kit or you opt for a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office, whiter teeth can build your confidence and your desire to stick to a daily plan of action for keeping your smile beautiful and bright.

READ MORE: How to Get Whiter Teeth

This article was reviewed by Dr. Miles Moore of Memphis Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Moore is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists who has received extensive training in implant dentistry. He is a member of multiple dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the American Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Memphis Dental Society.

Posted by Miles Moore at 08:41
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