Oral Care Tips

As 2017 comes to a close and we start drafting New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important not to forget your oral health. Simply brushing your teeth twice a day doesn’t guarantee your mouth is getting the attention it needs. Make sure you understand proper brushing techniques to make the most out of your time at the sink. To help you start 2018 out right, we at Schoolhouse Family Dentistry have compiled a list of tips to help you take your oral hygiene routine to the next level.

What is proper brushing technique?

Start with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Then, using short back and forth strokes, clean across the sides and tops of your teeth. To clean the backs of your teeth, where plaque most often builds up, hold your toothbrush vertically and use several short strokes.  

Brush well, and brush often.

Most people do brush their teeth regularly, but they don’t brush enough to keep their teeth clean. It’s recommended by the ADA to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. Do you have trouble keeping track of time during your brushing routine? You can listen to a short song, play a two-minute video, or even set a timer on your phone so that you can make sure you’re brushing for the full two-minutes.

Choose the right toothbrush.

When shopping for a toothbrush, make sure you select one that has a head and bristles that are small enough to reach into the crevices of your molars. We recommend that adults choose a small or medium sized toothbrush to properly clean in those hard to reach places.  

Not all oral care tools are created equally, so always look for the ADA Seal of approval. To achieve the best clean, look for a toothpaste and toothbrush that meet the ADA’s strict guidelines for an effective clean.


No one likes to do it, but flossing is just as important to maintaining good oral health as brushing. You need to make sure you’re flossing properly as well to better reach between your teeth and get the germs stuck there. Proper flossing involves unwinding about 18 inches of floss and, positioning the floss in a C-shape, push and pull the floss in a see-saw motion between each tooth.

Rinse with a mouthwash such as Listerine or Colgate Total.

Mouthwash can reach where toothbrushes and floss can’t to get the most thorough clean possible.   

Keep your toothbrush clean.

You won’t need to go out and buy any special equipment or covers to keep your brush clean. The ADA actually warns against covering your toothbrush as it can breed bacteria. Instead, simply rinsing your toothbrush and letting it air dry will keep your toothbrush clean.

Change your toothbrush every three to four months.

The bristles on toothbrushes deteriorate and fray with time and use, so if you use the same toothbrush for longer than a few months — you may not be getting the best clean.

Clean your tongue!

A lot of toothbrushes now come with a ridged tooth-scraper on the back of the brush head. After you finish brushing your teeth, be sure to either brush or scrape your tongue. This will help get rid of bacteria and freshen your breath.   

Finally, try to stop midnight snacking!

Brushing your teeth gets rid of bacteria and food particles, so if you eat a snack afterward you’ll have to brush your teeth again before going to bed. If you eat and skip brushing before sleeping, food particles and sugar will remain on your teeth for too long. This feeds bacteria growth in your mouth, yuck!

A proper oral care routine should be a part of any healthy regimen. Follow these oral health care tips to choose the best products and ensure you’re keeping your mouth healthy and cavity-free!