Routine Dental Care

Photo by Michael Karshis

Routine Dental Care

Welcome to the exciting world of dentistry.

I remember about a year ago reading a blog post on developing good habits LINK . The problem most people have is they try to do too much at once and give up before the task becomes a habit. In the post the blogger started by flossing just one tooth and gradually adding more teeth. After about 30 days he developed the habit of flossing every night and he didn’t even have to think about it.

My teeth have always been pretty good…no cavities. My gums are another story.

The start of my dental care would be my trips to the dentist. I go twice a year; May and December. They always go well, except my dentist will berate me for not flossing enough. They were red, swollen and bled easily.

After reading the blog I started a course to healthy teeth and gums. I developed my routine dental care that has become a habit. My dentist has given me a high five my last two trips. My gums no longer bleed and are almost all back to their original shade of pink…and growing (no more receding).

Here’s my daily routine dental care:

1. Floss – Once per day, at night, I floss with waxed floss. My new technique of slowly dragging the floss between the tooth and then wrapping the floss around the tooth and coming back down, replaced the old technique of bull-dozing the floss up into my gums. If you ever wonder where bad breath comes from, smell your floss when you’re done…ouch!

2. Water-Pik – I purchased one of these from Amazon LINK I’ve read that these are not as good as just flossing and don’t remove plaque very well. However it has been great for my gums. I honestly do not use this every night, but do use it at least once a week. I mix in a little listerine into the water. It has a dial on it to adjust the intensity. I found, for me, to leave it around six. It amazes me to see stuff flush out that I missed in flossing, especially way in the back.

3. Tongue Scraper – This is new to my list. I read that 80-90% of all bad breath comes from the bacteria on your tongue. Granted I read this on the tongue scraper box, but after using this I can believe it. Take a look at your tongue. Do you see any white on it? Scrape it with your finger and take a whiff…not pleasant. The tongue scraper is a gentle brush designed to effectively remove this bacteria. I brush a couple strokes with nothing on the scraper and then do a couple more with some toothpaste on it. I try to go as far back without choking. When I am done my tongue is red. I use the Orabrush scraper LINK. Make sure to rinse it off in hot water when done.

4. Brushing – Hey finally! The old reliable. I do this twice a day. I should brush at lunch, but have never brought a brush to work. I just started using the Oral-B battery-powered toothbrush LINK. There’s a more expensive one out there that goes for about $175. I opted to try this one. It is only $6 and uses replaceable batteries and brushes. I think a pack of two was also around $6 and they last three months. I’ve heard the best way to brush is in a circular motion. I’ve also heard it is up and down and across…eeesh! This brush has both a circular and back and forth motion. I am holding it at an angle and getting just up under the gum line. I am expecting from the reviews that this thing will be a home run. So far so good. My teeth feel like they were just cleaned at the dentist.

5. Oral Rinse – I finish off with Biotene oral rinse LINK. This is another routine dental care step I have added this year. This stuff loosens plaque which makes it easier for your brush and floss to work. It also leaves your breath fresh. I use this twice a day. I buy it on sale for $7.

6. Dental Pick and Mirror – I purchased these LINK about two years ago to help get rid of the plaque that develops on my two, front, lower teeth (where my tongue seems to call home most of the day). I was doing a gentle scrape on the back of these two teeth once or twice per week. I am guessing with my new battery-powered toothbrush (combined with the oral rinse) that I won’t need to use these anymore. I was always a little leery of scraping away my tooth enamel but if you’re careful it is ok.


Well there is my daily routine dental care. If I do everything it takes about ten minutes. This has had noticeable effects on my teeth and gums. They look like they did back when I was a kid. Take advantage of some of the great products that are out there and save yourself some money and pain down the line. The people around you will thank you.

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