Having a good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be difficult. The most difficult thing to do, in fact, is getting started on a routine. But that goes with anything. It’s hard to get up in the morning, but the more we do it the more it becomes habit. It’s difficult for us to get to the gym or get some sort of daily exercise. But as we continue to do it everyday, it just becomes routine. In fact, it almost becomes a necessity to include our daily habits in our routines, otherwise we feel unsteady. There are certain things we want to include in our daily routine so that it just becomes habit. An oral hygiene routine needs to become a habit. Research shows that you have to do something consistently for at least 66 days for something to become natural to you. Just a little over two months. And those two months are usually the hardest when starting something new, especially something rigorous (source).
But oral hygiene doesn’t necessarily have to be rigorous. It’s most definitely something you want to start doing in order to build a habit, because you want to have a good, healthy smile. And let’s not forget that one of the most powerful and influential pharaohs of ancient Egypt most likely died due to dental problems. If that’s not motivation enough for you to take care of your teeth, I don’t know what is! Maybe google some gruesome pictures.
But I’m here to help you get started on a regular dental routine so that you can keep a healthy smile. Keep it up for a couple of months and it will just come natural to you.
1. Brush 2-3 times a day
Brushing once you get up in the morning and before you go to bed are ideal. When you get up in the morning, your mouth has not been producing enough saliva, which is a good time for bacteria to start attaching to your teeth. Giving you bad breath and making you prone to cavities. At the end of the day, before you go to bed, that is, you want to brush your teeth again so to get rid of the bits of food your mouth has not completely digested. Food that may have been left between your teeth where bacteria loves to camp out over night. The magic number is two, meaning you want to brush your teeth at least twice a day. You can maybe brush after lunch if you really want to up your routine, but it’s not absolutely necessary all the time. And brushing your teeth any more than that may start causing damage to your enamel.
2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue
The tongue is home to alot of bacteria considering the texture of our tongues is a little more abrasive than our teeth. Think about that next time you see your significant other! It can be the cause to some serious bad breath issues. It’s important you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper every time you brush your teeth, otherwise your missing a major part of cleaning your mouth.
3. Floss once a day
Flossing once a day is so easy to miss and to so many, it’s even tedious. And it’s understandable. It can be a hassle and some teeth are harder to reach. We try to get out of it by making excuses, but let me assure you that you cannot skip out on flossing once a day. Your toothbrush does not reach all the crevices between your teeth and even below your gumline. Understand, food left in our mouth, even food we cannot see, is food for bacteria. Surely you know that food is being left behind between your teeth. Plaque and tartar tend to build up here because we ignore flossing. This can lead to some serious gum disease. Make it a habit to floss once a day, and it doesn’t matter whether you do it in the morning or at night, as long as you do it.
4. Carry flosser picks
This does not count as your one time a day for flossing. Flosser picks are good for after you’ve eaten something and maybe you have something caught in your teeth. It’s good to carry them around for this purpose. But I also want to point out that after eating certain foods, you may want to use a flosser pick you have handy on you. Such as eating something with a high sugar content or something very acidic. Flossing after eating or drinking such foods will help tremendously. Speaking of which…
5. Limit sugary & acidic foods
We’re not saying this is the cause to your cavities. But we are saying you may want to watch what you eat and the effects these foods will have on your teeth. Sugar, acid, and bacteria in your mouth is the perfect equation for cavities and tooth decay. Limit these types of foods, or at the very least consider brushing your teeth after you consume these foods. For example, if you’re a morning coffee drinker, drink your coffee first and then brush your teeth in the morning. If you’re an afternoon coffee drinker, consider adding a third brushing to your daily routine. Or even more convenient…
6. Consider mouthwash
Using a proper mouthwash after you brush and floss helps quite a bit in keeping a good clean mouth. It can reach some of the spots you may have missed and kills the bacteria. But consider carrying a travel sized bottle on you if you are a coffee or tea drinker. This will definitely help in controlling the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities and tooth decay.
7. See your dentist
I understand if you haven’t kept up with a good oral hygiene routine, going to the dentist can be the most dreaded time of the year. But if you keep up with a good routine, it doesn’t have to be. Going to the dentist and getting a cleaning twice a year is one of the best things you can do, because the dentist can see things you cannot. Don’t consider going to the dentist to make up for all the flossing you didn’t do. Go to the dentist as a precaution for future issues you cannot necessarily prevent on your own.
Keep up with this routine and I promise you’ll have one of the best smiles around!