The Complete Guide to Your Best Oral Hygiene Routine

Gentle Dental

Little girl and her parents practicing good oral hygiene in the bathroom.

Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, many people rush through brushing as they hurry to get to school, work or into bed. The best oral hygiene routines center on key fundamentals that prevent plaque and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Learn how to properly care for your teeth with these proven dental care tips.

Brushing Routine

If you’re wondering how to have the best dental hygiene possible, it all starts with your toothbrush. It may sound overly simple, but proper brushing habits are the most effective way to improve oral health and preserve it well into the future. For best results, adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Brush once in the morning and once in the evening after you have eaten your last meal.
  • Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, making sure to give each part of your mouth equal attention.
  • Hold your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle, and be sure to brush beneath the gum line.
  • Brush every surface of each tooth, including the sides, chewing surfaces and rear.


The best oral hygiene practices include regular flossing. It’s important to use floss to eliminate plaque and food particles that gather between your teeth. If flossing isn’t a part of your dental routine, it’s time to start now. Best practices include:

  • Be sure to floss at least once per day, using whatever type of floss feels most comfortable.
  • Wrap each end of the floss around your fingers and gently work it in between each tooth.
  • Move the floss against the curve of each tooth to prevent accidental damage to the gums.
  • Repeat with each tooth, making sure to wind used floss with one finger and release unused floss from the other.

Cleaning Your Tongue

The best oral hygiene routines involve thoroughly cleaning bacterial buildup from the tongue. This can reduce bad breath and give you a fresh feeling with every breath. For best results, follow these steps:

  • Apply a small amount of toothpaste to your toothbrush.
  • Brush your tongue in circular motions moving as far back as you can without triggering your gag reflex.
  • If you prefer, you can also run floss flat against the surface of your tongue.
  • You can also use scraper products, specifically designed for cleaning bacteria and food particles from the tongue.

Using Mouthwash

For even better dental hygiene, consider incorporating mouthwash into your oral health routine. While not absolutely necessary, mouthwash can help reduce oral bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath. Best practices include:

  • Choose a mouthwash that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which shows the product is safe and effective for the purpose claimed.
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after you have flossed, brushed and cleaned your tongue.
  • Sip a small amount of mouthwash and swish for about 30 to 40 seconds, being careful not to swallow.
  • Spit out the mouthwash and rinse again using clean water if you don’t like the taste.

Regular Checkup

If you’re wondering how to improve oral health, the best thing you can do is schedule regular checkups with your dentist. While good oral hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of dental issues, it doesn’t provide 100-percent protection. That’s why it’s important to see your local dentist for regular teeth cleanings and checkups. In addition to removing tartar and plaque, these checkups can help identify minor oral issues in their infancies, before they evolve into costly problems, requiring expensive treatments.

Find your perfect smile. Book your next appointment at a Gentle Dental location near you.