When someone smiles, you can somehow tell if his or her daily dental care routine is correct and well-followed. Practicing oral hygiene prevents dental problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis and halitosis (bad breath). Cleaning your mouth regularly also helps prevent tooth loss due to severe gum disease which is a common case among adults. Daily dental care steps are simple and they take only a few minutes off of your time.

Brush Your Teeth

This is the first step in your daily dental care to promote and maintain oral health. Brushing your teeth helps fight plaque buildup, gum inflammations, cavities, and even serious heart problems. This site contains a helpful guide on how to brush teeth properly that everyone can surely follow.

  • Use proper equipment and keep them clean and dry after use. Sonicare toothbrush heads are excellent in tooth cleaning since they use intense vibrations that clean the whole mouth especially those hard-to-reach areas.

  • Employ correct brushing techniques. Aim at a 45-degree angle on the gum line and use short, vertical strokes.

  • Brush for at least two minutes, twice a day

  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or if bristles start to fray.

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Use Dental Floss

These bundles of thin nylon, silk, or plastic filaments are used to dislodge food in between teeth. Dental floss is available in waxed, non-waxed, flavored, and unflavored variants that consumers can choose from. Flossing plus tooth brushing reduces the risk of gingivitis—a periodontal disease caused by bacterial plaque—compared to brushing alone. It also helps prevent tooth decay and halitosis that is why it is regarded as an essential daily dental care step. Using dental floss before brushing increases the ability of fluoride in toothpastes to reach between teeth.

  • Get a generous length of floss that you can twirl on your fingers and glide smoothly in between teeth. Cut about 10 inches of floss and wind the ends around your two middle fingers.

  • Floss teeth one by one. Curve the floss into a C shape against the side of the tooth and wipe gently against the gum line about 2 to 3 times. Rub back and forth against the sides of the tooth to remove plaque. Get a fresh piece when needed.

  • If manual flossing is difficult, products such as floss picks and interdental brushes are available in your local stores. Floss picks are plastic wands specialized in holding the floss; however, they could be difficult to operate at certain angles. Interdental brushes are tiny brushes, often disposable, used for cleaning between teeth and wires of dental braces.

  • Floss regularly and thoroughly at least once per day, as advised by the American Dental Association. Do not be aggressive in flossing your teeth as it could damage your gum tissue.

Gargle with Mouthwash

While this step is optional, mouthwashes improve oral hygiene and daily dental care by loosening up the last bits of food and bacteria missed during brushing. They work best with tooth brushing and flossing but are not as effective when used alone. Mouthwashes may or may not contain alcohol and choosing what type to use is a personal preference. Those that contain alcohol sting the mouth when gargling and may cause drying of the lips and mouth afterwards. If these things sound unpleasant, you can opt to buy a non-alcoholic mouth rinse instead.

Visit Your Dentist

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This is not actually part of a daily dental care routine but is as important as those mentioned above. Schedule checkups and tooth cleanings with your dentist at least once or twice a year. Also, consult him or her if you have the following symptoms:

  • Swollen or bleeding gums

  • Sudden tooth sensitivity

  • Persistent bad breath

  • Unusual taste in your mouth (usually bitter or metallic)

Other Daily Dental Care Tips

  • Never use toothpicks for dislodging stuck food. They could hurt your gums causing them to bleed. They could also expose them to possible bacterial infections.

  • Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Eat an adequate amount of carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables everyday. Strengthen your teeth by eating calcium-rich foods such as green, leafy vegetables and dairy products.

  • Foods high in sugar are commonly associated with dental cavities because they tend to get sticky and are hard to remove from teeth. Consume sweet foods such as toffee and chocolate less frequently, or gargle with water after eating.

  • Stop smoking. Tobacco causes yellowing of teeth, cavities, gum disease or worse, oral cancer