5 Home Oral Hygiene Habits You Need to Pick Up

Are you fully satisfied with your oral health? If you’re like most people, you probably think there are some areas for improvement. According to a 2018 Delta Dental survey, 85% of Americans think oral health is very or extremely important to overall health.

Despite this, only 25% of respondents were extremely satisfied with the state of their oral health. While 49% were somewhat satisfied, this still means that a majority of people think their oral health could be taken up a notch. The best way to improve your oral health is by going to the dentist, which, concerningly, only 58% of respondents had done during the past year.

When it’s time for a dental visit, come see the team at MJM Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Malcolm Murray, DDS and Ranya Ghumrawi, DMD work with you to determine if your mouth could use a little TLC and restorative work. Our office is proud to offer high-quality professional dental services to every member of your family. We use the latest technology and innovative equipment to obtain optimal results for your oral health.

When you’re not in the dentist’s chair, there are things you can do at home to keep your teeth shining and your gums healthy. Use this blog as a quick guide to five smart at-home oral hygiene habits you should add to your routine.

Floss at least once a day

Your dentist and hygienist don’t shame you about flossing for fun. We know that interdental cleaning, aka flossing, isn’t a blast. This can be especially true if you’re just starting to add it to your morning or bedtime habits. However, flossing should be an integral part of your daily routine.


Toothbrushes have evolved over the years, but no layout of bristles can get in between your teeth quite like floss. Flossing prevents the buildup of plaque, which can eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If you truly struggle with that string of floss, try alternatives such as interdental brushes or water flossers.

Keep a twice-daily brushing routine

The guidance from the American Dental Association is clear: You need to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Studies have found sufficient evidence that brushing twice daily reduces your risk for cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Fluoride toothpaste is also adept at preventing cavities, especially in adolescents. When it comes to brushing time, aim for approximately two minutes.

Optimize your brushing

If you haven’t tried an electric toothbrush yet, consider making a change. Electric toothbrushes have been shown to be more effective at reducing plaque levels and gingivitis. Replace your toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush every three to four months. Also, don’t forget about brushing your tongue, which helps prevent bad breath and lower your risk of gum disease.

Add mouthwash

To be clear, mouthwash should never replace brushing — no matter what percent of bacteria it claims to eliminate. Mouthwash does offer many benefits, though. It reduces the amount of

acid in your mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around your gums, and remineralizes your teeth.

Lifestyle adjustments

Tobacco usage is a big no-no when it comes to oral health; it increases your risk of many diseases, including gum disease and tooth loss. Try to limit your soda and alcohol intake, too — these drinks can deplete the calcium level of your body and increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease as well. If you’re a toothpick user, try to break the habit. While helpful for getting a piece of steak out of your teeth, toothpicks can potentially injure your gums and let in bacteria.

 While at-home habits can get you far, nothing helps your oral health like a visit to the dentist. An MJM Family & Cosmetic Dentistry check-up or cleaning can ensure your oral health is top notch. Call our Fairfax, Virginia, office to schedule an appointment.

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