Have you been brushing your teeth wrong? Yes, no, maybe so? Since it’s an everyday habit you’ve been doing since your baby buckers first grew in, you may not even know there’s a more efficient way to keep your smile healthy. Perhaps you brush too hard or too quickly—surprisingly, there is an art to cleaning your teeth.
To ~freshen~ your morning and evening routine, we’re highlighting tips and products that will help keep your gums, teeth, and tongue looking and feeling their best. From the amount of time to properly brush to how to naturally whiten your smile, we’re here to share our top oral care hacks.
Read on for habits that are sure to make your dentist proud.
Floss then brush.
According to this study, when participants flossed prior to brushing their teeth, the amount of plaque buildup found was significantly lower than the group who did the opposite sequence. Floss at least once a day, but brownie points for adding it to your morning and evening routine. Once you get into the habit, you won’t be able to live any other way.
The two-minute timer.
Most electric toothbrushes have a two-minute preset timer, but if you’re manually brushing, set a reminder. Pretend like you’re at the dentist and follow the same pattern they use by spending 30 seconds on each quadrant (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left). Spend around five seconds on each individual tooth, allowing the toothbrush to polish the front, back, and surface area of your molars.
Take caution when you’re moving your toothbrush close to your gums; it’s important to gently glide when tracing around this delicate area. Especially if you tend to have a firm grip. If you’re using an electric device, remember it’s designed to do the work for you so you don’t need to move your hand in the traditional pattern like you would with a manual option. Just place it on the desired area and let it work its magic.
Don’t forget to get deep.
Yes, those molars need a good polish twice a day too. Allow your toothbrush to get way back there to remove any sneaky plaque situations. You should always do a clean sweep with your tongue to make sure you caught all physical signs of buildup.
The thing about mouthwash …
It’s no replacement for daily flossing and brushing your teeth, but if you’re in a situation where it’s all you have, then of course swish it around. While most formulas help to kill bacteria, the main use is masking bad breath. Some rinses even wash away healthy toothpaste ingredients that help to strengthen tooth enamel when used directly after brushing. So if you’re going to incorporate a liquid cleanse into your everyday oral care routine, wait at least an hour after brushing for the mouthwash step.
And oil pulling?
Oil pulling is the act of swishing a tablespoon or so of oil in your mouth for an extended period of time, giving a little extra love to pushing it through your molars and massaging your gums with the oil. In Ayurveda, it’s thought to have a detoxifying effect, literally pulling oil-soluble toxins out of the body through the delicate blood vessels in your mouth’s soft tissues. It’s preferable to oil pull before brushing, flossing, or rinsing of any kind, so that you can loosen up any bacteria, toxins, and plaque in preparation for your normal oral cleansing routine.
OK, so far here’s the order: oil pulling (if you desire), flossing, brushing (for a solid two minutes), wait, and then use a mouthwash.
Be picky about your toothpaste selection.
We recommend this fluoride-free charcoal paste. Why the emphasis on no fluoride? While fluoride is found naturally in water and soil, when it’s added to products, like oral care, it can cause skin irritations. If you’re breaking out around your mouth or dealing with a perioral dermatitis flare-up, swap your paste for a fluoride-free option to prevent any additional irritability. We like this vegan-friendly option that has activated charcoal, which also helps to naturally whiten your teeth.
For an all-natural whitening solution.
Kourt introduced our team to this effective and affordable teeth-whitening powder, and for that our pearly whites thank her. It’s all-natural and 100% cruelty-free, which of course we love, and the small bottle can be used for up to 200 brushings. Simply apply toothpaste to your brush, run a dash of water over it, and then sprinkle the powder on top of the paste. If you’re into DIYs, you can also try this at-home turmeric recipe for brighter teeth.
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