The Ideal Oral Hygiene Routine

on November 20, 2013

We understand that most of us are trying to find ways to add more time to our day. This week we’ve figured out what the ideal oral hygiene routine includes. By following this routine you will spend less time at the dentist and have more time do to what you love.

Before Breakfast

After waking up, and before breakfast, you should brush your teeth. Overnight the bacteria in your mouth create plaque. Brushing your teeth before breakfast helps remove the plaque build-up that has accumulated overnight. If you are a mouth breather this early brushing is even more important. When you breathe through your mouth at night, the bacteria can create even more plaque. The saliva in your mouth dries as you breathe and isn’t able to act as a buffer against the bacteria. If you eat breakfast after this brushing, it is not necessary to use toothpaste at this time.

After Breakfast and Lunch

Wait about a half an hour after breakfast to allow the pH of your mouth to return to neutral. This helps protect your teeth from additional damage that may be caused by acid erosion. Brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste this time. Brushing your teeth at this time will help control the bacteria population, and it will help to remove any food debris that are left on your teeth after your meal. The fluoride in the toothpaste will work with the natural minerals in your saliva to remineralize and strengthen your teeth.

After a Snack

If you get a case of the morning munchies, or after your morning cup of joe, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. Xylitol gum is best, but any sugarless gum will stimulate production of your saliva which will help lower the pH of your mouth. The additional saliva will also get rid of some of the larger food debris that is still in your mouth. Xylitol gum will also help control the bacteria population in your mouth as the bacteria that causes cavities consumes xylitol sugar, but cannot metabolize xylitol and the bacteria effectively starves to death.

Before Bed

Your bed time oral hygiene routine should be a little different. Start by flossing your teeth. Flossing first helps remove the bacteria and food debris that are between teeth and allows the fluoride to reach those areas. Next brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and then follow with a fluoride mouth rinse.  This is the best time to add a fluoride mouth rinse to your routine as you won’t be eating again, so the fluoride will be available to strengthen your teeth for a longer period of time.

If you whiten your teeth overnight, make sure you wait a half hour after your fluoride rinse before putting your whitening trays in. This will help with any sensitivity you experience as well as ensure that you get the most out of your fluoride rinse.

At our Evanston dental office, we brush our teeth every day after lunch. A little change such as bringing a toothbrush to work to brush after lunch can help your smile. Your oral hygiene routine may not be ideal, but any steps you can take to make it closer to ideal will help keep your mouth happy and healthy.

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