Oral Hygiene Basics



Oral hygiene is more important than many people realize. The outcome of a date or professional meeting can go the wrong way if one has distractingly dirty teeth or bad breath. Maintaining a healthy and clean mouth takes more than just a quick daily brushing. You may not even know the proper way to brush your teeth if you haven’t thought about it since childhood. Read on to find out more about tips for brushing your teeth and oral hygiene that will improve your overall health and social interactions.

Brushing Your Teeth

The main purpose of brushing your teeth is to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, both of which cause cavities, decay, gum disease, and gingivitis down the road. In addition to possibly turning into systemic health problems, all of these conditions can cause bad breath and unattractive teeth.

Choosing a Brush

To properly brush your teeth, you first need the right toothbrush. Both manual and electric toothbrushes work well, and the softness of the bristles should be chosen to your individual preference. Most importantly, make sure the size of the brush matches your mouth, so that you are not straining to fit the brush in.

How to Brush

Ideally, you should brush twice a day, for two minutes each time. Brushing less often than this allows plaque to build up, increasing the risk of disease and cavities. More is not always better, however, as brushing too often or too hard can expose the root of the tooth, causing irritation. In addition, vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on your teeth. Brushing gently for two minutes is ideal. When brushing, aim the brush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gumline and use short strokes. Brush the inner and outer tooth surfaces, and be sure to move the brush up and down, not horizontally. Try and start brushing in a different place each time to avoid habitually missing the same spots.

After Brushing

Follow up after brushing your teeth with a rinse of your choosing. There are many rinses to pick from, including ones targeted to bad breath or tooth whitening. Flossing once a day after brushing ensures you remove all particles from in between your teeth. Gently insert the floss between each tooth and carefully move it up and down to dislodge debris. A last overlooked spot to maintain is the tongue – if you like, you can simply brush it with your toothbrush while doing the rest of your teeth. Or, you can purchase a specialized tongue cleaner.

Food and Drink

The food you eat has an affect on oral hygiene as well. Some foods actually protect against cavities because they naturally contain fluorine. In general, fruits and vegetables are helpful because of their natural quantities of important vitamins such as Vitamin A and C. Try and avoid sugars and other carbohydrates, as they contribute to cavities. Highly acidic foods such as fruit juice, vinegar, and soda, lower the pH level of the mouth, which causes demineralization of the enamel. This leads to cavities and decay.


Taking care of your teeth and mouth is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Not only will it allow you to avoid dental work in the future, but it will ensure that people are not distracted by your bad breath or unattractive teeth!


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