What is the basic dental routine?

A smile is almost universal language, and most of a beautiful smile is healthy teeth. That's why your oral hygiene routine can make or break the message your smile sends. But if you're like most people, taking care of your teeth is one of those automatic grooming practices that becomes such an important part of your daily routine that you don't think too much about it. Brushing and flossing are the foundation, but there's more to oral health than just your teeth.

And while oral hygiene may not be as important as your hair routine or choice of your daily outfit, it can be much more important in the long run. If your morning oral routine isn't before breakfast, the American Dental Association recommends waiting at least an hour after eating before brushing your teeth, especially if you drank something acidic, such as orange juice or grapefruit. Acid loosens tooth enamel and the strength of brushing can damage your teeth if you do it too soon. Floss all of your teeth at least once a day, preferably at night before going to sleep.

If you floss at the time you brush, you'll want to floss first. Flossing washes away food particles hiding between your teeth and helps loosen plaque for more effective brushing. If using a long piece of dental floss is uncomfortable for you, you can now buy small “dental floss,” a plastic holder with about an inch of dental floss to hold for you. You may need more than one for each session, but they can make work simpler and faster.

Taking oral health one step further These are the basic 1-2-3 steps of good oral hygiene. But if you want to go one step further, wash your tongue. Cleaning your tongue is just as important as brushing your teeth and flossing. Just as bacteria can build up on and between teeth, they can also build up on the tongue and cause bad breath.

Scraping your tongue with dental floss or rubbing it with your toothbrush removes any bacteria attached to it. It takes less than a minute, and while you don't need to do it every time you brush, making it a regular part of your routine will make a difference to the overall health of your mouth.

June Mcnell
June Mcnell

General pop culture expert. Professional tea expert. Typical beer guru. Lifelong tv fan. General food maven.