Developing a Healthy Oral Hygiene Routine: 7 Daily Best Practices

Toothbrush, tongue cleaner, dental floss, toothpaste tube and mouthwash on blue background with copy space. Flat lay. Dental hygiene.

In life, there are few things as important as maintaining a healthy body. That’s why any medical expert will tell you the keys to keeping your body in working order includes:

  • A healthy diet
  • Plenty of exercise
  • Good sleep
  • Regular check-ups
  • And more.

But what if we told you your oral hygiene routine steps are just as important to your body health? We don’t want to scare you, but your mouth is a haven for bacteria. And that bacteria can hop from your mouth to the rest of your body, causing all kinds of issues, inclung:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Diabetes
  • Pneumonia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • And more.

But there’s a way to keep that bacteria in check and to help support a superpowered immune system. Namely: keeping a regular oral hygiene routine.

While some experts may hem and haw about the best order, consider this your best oral hygiene routine primer. We’re ready to break down the crucial oral hygiene routine steps you should take every morning, noon, and night.

Morning Routine

Step 1: Rinse

When you first wake up, rinse your mouth out with a pH-balanced mouthwash. This will loosen any plaque that formed overnight and get your teeth ready for a thorough cleaning.

If you aren’t comfortable using mouthwash, a rinse with room temperature water is perfectly fine. The key is to simply swish and spit out all the crud you just unearthed between your teeth. This will give your toothbrush a pre-cleaned canvas to work its magic.

A solid rinse time is about 30 seconds.

Step 2: Floss

Once rinsed, use dental floss between every one of your teeth. This will help scrape away any of that plaque you loosened during the prior step.

As a pro tip: be sure to gently work your floss up and under the gum line. This will ensure you’re getting all of the plaque in your smile, not just the plaque you can see. To achieve this, insert the floss between two of your teeth and then curve the floss around the front and back sides of one of the teeth. Then pull the floss up to slip behind the gums. Repeat throughout your mouth for a healthy result.

As a second pro tip, you can level up your flossing game with a water flosser. The commonly used and branded term is Waterpik, but any brand will do. These amazing devices inject high pressured water between the teeth and under the gumline. This water can loosen plaque and other bits, just like floss.

Think of this step as a megapowered version of your humble floss. But without the awkward wrap lines on your finger afterwards.

Step 3: Scrape

Use a tongue scraper and drag it down the top of your tongue a few times. The scraper should be rinsed before and after scraping, as well as between each scrape. This will get the harmful bacteria, bad breath smells, and more that accumulated while you were sleeping out of your mouth.

Step 4: Brush

As we mentioned, there’s an optimal order to your morning oral care routine. And brushing should be the final piece of the puzzle. The key here is to give yourself two full minutes of brushing to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. More than anything on this list, this step is critical.

But don’t just randomly brush different spots of your mouth for two minutes. Instead, think of your mouth in quadrants:

  • Upper left
  • Upper right
  • Lower left
  • Lower right

Give each of these quadrants their due, with 30 seconds of good, thorough brushing before moving onto the next quadrant. By making your brusing more bite-sized, you can ensure each portion of your mouth is thoroughly cleaned.

Midday Routine

After lunchtime, it’s important to give your mouth a once-over to remove any buildup that occured during your morning and midday snacks and meals. You don’t need to follow the entire morning routine at midday, but a 30-second swish of pH-balanced mouthwash or mouthspray will do the trick.

Nighttime Routine

Unlike the morning, the evening routine just before bed changes up the order of steps:

Step 1: Floss

The technique should be the same as in the morning, with each tooth getting a gentle wrap before your floss slides up under the gums. Flossing comes first at night because your mouth is full of food particles. This step alleviates that.

Step 2: Clean

Scrape down your tongue to remove any white buildup that has formed throughout the day.

Step 3: Brush

The technique sticks for the evening: 30 seconds apiece in each of your mouth’s four quadrants.Just be sure to really get behind your molars and in the harder-to-reach spots in your smile, as the goal here is to have your toothpaste working on your teeth as you sleep.

Step 4: Rinse

Use a dentist-approved mouthwash for 30 seconds to coat your teeth before bed. Much like the toothpaste, your teeth will benefit from the additives while you sleep, allowing for a fresher breath and healthier teeth in the morning.

Set Aside Just 270 Seconds Per Day

We’re going to be harsh here: a quick brush before bed just doesn’t lead to good oral health. An oral care routine needs to be much more mindful and intentional.

You should plan to brush your teeth both morning and night, with smaller steps added in morning, noon, and night. This will sweep away harmful bacteria, sugars, and other nasty elements that can cause oral health issues later.

A clean mouth is a happy mouth. And the only way to do this is to set aside a time for a thorough oral routine.

Use Trustworthy Products

A superpowered smile needs good oral hygiene products to truly shine. And not all toothpastes, rinses, and more are created equal. By selecting trustworthy, tested, age-appropriate products, your mouth will get exactly what it needs.

With the right tools, you can follow the proper oral hygiene routine steps each and every day without worry.

A Good Oral Hygiene Routine Begins With Your Dentist

While dentist visits aren’t a part of a daily proper oral hygiene routine, don’t sleep on them. They should absolutely be built into your bi-anual oral hygiene routine. Regular dental care visits will also keep you fresh with the best means to care for your teeth.

Learn about Dr. Kami Hoss and discover his book, If Your Mouth Could Talk.

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About the Author

About Dr. Kami Hoss

Dr. Kami Hoss is a nationally sought-after expert with a master’s in craniofacial biology from USC, a doctorate in dental surgery from UCLA, and a post-doctorate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. With over 25 years of experience in the dental field, Dr. Hoss is a #1 National Best Seller author frequently featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, and CBS affiliates, and founder of The Super Dentists, one of the leading multi-specialty dental practices in the country.

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