Written by Dr. Febin Mary George, BDS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shaista Salam, BDS; Dr. Zein El Hammouz, DDS, MFD/RCSI
2. What's the correct order of oral hygiene?
3. Oral hygiene routine: Best practices & tips
4. What happens if you don't clean your teeth?
5. How to take care of teeth (Special Cases)
Healthy and strong teeth cannot be developed overnight. You must practice the steps in your oral hygiene routine properly to achieve optimum oral health.
This article will walk you through the ideal oral hygiene routine, so read on to find out how you can plan one for yourself!
Educate yourselves about good dental practices and follow them diligently. For instance, brushing your teeth at least twice daily or after each meal.
Following the right order of oral hygiene practices can make a lot of difference to your oral health. While the recommended order is flossing, brushing, and then rinsing with a mouthwash, you can follow what works best for you.
Habits that may harm your teeth or gums should be avoided. For instance, opening bottle caps with your front teeth or chewing on hard substances like ice, candy, pens, etc.
Visit your dentist at least once every 6 months to ensure your teeth are free from cavities and your gums stay healthy.
Our nutrition is deeply connected with our oral health. Therefore, one should have a balanced diet and avoid sugary foods and beverages to maintain good oral health.
We understand that brushing and flossing are imperative for clean and healthy teeth. Wondering whether there is a specific oral hygiene routine order you should follow? According to our team of dental professionals, this is the order you should stick with :
When we floss between two teeth, the food debris stuck in the interdental spaces is pushed out. These areas are otherwise inaccessible by your toothbrush bristles. If flossing is followed by brushing, then the fluoride in your toothpaste can flow into these tiny interdental areas and exert its antibacterial action.
Moreover, some studies suggest that a proper oral hygiene routine should have flossing first, followed by brushing, to reduce interdental plaque. (1)
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice daily for around two minutes.
Among the many dental hygiene tips outlined by dentists, using fluoride mouthwash can be an effective adjunct to your oral hygiene.(11)
Brushing and flossing daily, irrespective of the order, will certainly keep your teeth in good shape, but following the recommended order can help you get the most out of your oral hygiene routine.
You should ensure all the surfaces of your teeth are getting cleaned with your floss. When flossing between two teeth, floss against one surface first, then proceed to floss the other surface too. Click here to learn which is the best type of floss for you.
Cleaning two or more interdental areas with the same floss section will distribute bacteria present in one spot to all the teeth. Therefore, use different sections of floss for different teeth.
If you find that your gums bleed while flossing, do not get discouraged and discontinue flossing. Bleeding is a sign of inflamed gums, which occurs due to irritation from bacteria and plaque buildup. Flossing clears this bacterial plaque and helps your gums recover.
Most mouthwash brands recommend usage twice a day. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to stay within safe limits.
As per studies, the overuse of chlorhexidine mouthwash can cause staining on the teeth. (7)
With so many brands of mouthwash available in the market, choosing the right one can get tricky. Focus on the goals you wish to achieve and select the mouthwash based on its ingredients.
For instance, a plaque-control mouthwash containing chlorhexidine is a practical choice if bad breath and inflamed gums are your primary concern. (13)
To ensure maximum effectiveness, avoid eating or drinking anything for at least half an hour after rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash. (2)
With companies offering toothbrushes in various colors and shapes, choosing the right one for you can be daunting.
After use, store your toothbrush upright using a toothbrush holder or cup.
Your brush may be unfit for use if its bristles start fraying. Therefore, it is advisable to replace your toothbrush every three to four months to ensure optimum cleaning efficiency. (3)
Your teeth care routine is incomplete if you forget to brush your tongue! Our tongue has tiny projections on its surface. Food particles get trapped in these spaces, which serve as an excellent breeding spot for oral bacteria. Therefore, tongue cleaning is an essential step in your dental hygiene routine.
The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth. Hard bristles can injure your gums and wear away the outermost layer (enamel) of your teeth. (3)
If proper oral hygiene is not maintained, you can end up with plaque and calculus buildup. This can then progress to gum disease and, in the most advanced stages, even tooth loss.
Dental plaque is a sticky film formed by bacteria and food debris present in your mouth. (8) The bacteria release acids when they feed on these food particles stuck on the teeth. The acids damage the teeth' structure which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Dental plaque can form on the teeth as well as along the gumline. If not removed by cleaning, it turns into hard calculus, which irritates the gums, causing gum inflammation, swelling, bleeding on brushing, etc. (9) When left untreated, gum disease can progress to more severe stages (periodontitis).
Acids produced by oral bacteria destroy the teeth' structure and cause cavities. (10) Additionally, advanced gum disease can destroy the bone supporting your teeth, resulting in your tooth falling out.
Yes. Teeth cleaning at home removes only the soft deposits and food remnants stuck to your teeth. Without correct brushing techniques, these soft deposits are left behind on the teeth and harden over time to form calculus that is difficult to remove through regular brushing.
During professional teeth cleaning, special tools are used to loosen the hard deposits and clean the visible surfaces of your teeth. Thus, regular professional cleanings ensure good gum health and cavity-free teeth.
Good nutrition is of great significance for optimum oral health. (4) Whatever we consume affects our teeth. For instance, sugary substances can increase the chances of dental decay, whereas frequently having acidic foods or beverages can wear down the teeth.
Having a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables ensures that you receive a good supply of fiber and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
If you have clear aligners, you can take them off and brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.
With braces, you may find it challenging to clean your teeth because of all the metal components. In such cases, you can use special interdental toothbrushes to navigate between the wires and brackets and maintain good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss daily to keep all the teeth surfaces clean. If you have morning sickness and are frequently vomiting, your doctor may recommend the use of antibacterial mouthwash, in addition to toothbrushing, to keep a check on plaque formation (15). It’s a good idea to try and find a mild-flavored toothpaste that doesn't trigger a gag reflex.
In conclusion, having a well-planned oral hygiene routine makes a huge difference to the condition of your teeth, gums, and your overall oral health. Pick the right order as per your preferences to make sure to floss, brush and use mouthwash every day!