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How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

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How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

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Maintaining oral hygiene is as important as physical hygiene. Read this article to know about how to maintain proper oral hygiene for healthy living.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. P. C. Pavithra Pattu

Published At October 17, 2016
Reviewed AtDecember 21, 2022

Oral Health and General Well-Being:

In an individual, oral health is one of the foremost indicators of any underlying infection, disease, or medical condition.

Everyone should remember one crucial thing: the mouth and its intraoral environment are essential indicators of many underlying diseases. So, maintaining perfect oral health displays how fit you are (having good muscles and a toned body is always secondary to it).

Before discussing the steps to maintain good oral hygiene, let us know about the symptoms of poor oral hygiene.

What Are the Symptoms of Poor Oral Hygiene?

  • Bleeding Gums - It is usually found in at least 1/3rd of the population. It can be caused by oral infections like not rinsing your mouth after having food or avoiding nighttime brushing. Some underlying diseases like diabetes, heart problems, and other systemic conditions result in gingival bleeding and inflammation.

  • Bad Breath - Malodor or bad breath is an important manifestation of poor oral hygiene and it comes in association with gum problems or dental caries.

  • Inflamed and Reddened Gums - It can be found in children who are careless about their oral hygiene and whose parents cannot guide them about proper oral hygiene maintenance. This is also seen in people who consume lots of chocolates and sweets, disregarding their health.

  • Loosened Teeth - These are usually seen in the age group of 35 years and above. By this age, the lack of oral hygiene and care would have caused much damage to the underlying alveolar bone (part of jaw bone holding the teeth in place) and periodontium (tissue that helps attach the tooth to the surrounding alveolar bone). In turn, this leads to the gums’ recession (gingival recession) and bone loss resulting in loose teeth, which would ultimately fall off or need to be extracted due to pain.

  • Swelling and Abscess Formation - It is an advanced stage of gum infection that causes a severe foul smell in the mouth and pus discharge through the gums. And in more severe cases, pus discharge occurs externally through the cheeks.

How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

  1. Regular Toothbrushing: Brush twice daily, once in the morning and at night. Everyone is aware of brushing their teeth twice daily, but using the correct technique is crucial for it to be effective. You should brush your teeth in an up and down or circular motion for healthy gums and surrounding periodontium. Avoid brushing your teeth in back and forth movements or horizontally. Time taken for brushing your teeth with this method is ideally around 2 to 3 minutes. Do not brush your teeth very hard and soft-bristles toothbrushes to prevent tooth erosion and sensitivity. Also, as per the American Dental Association (ADA), toothbrushes are recommended to be changed every three months or till the bristles become frayed.
  2. Saline Gargling: Saline gargling (warm salt water gargling) is the best mouthwash. As long as you do not have any oral condition, it is advisable to stick to saltwater gargling. Saltwater increases the pH and creates an alkaline environment in the oral cavity, making it difficult for the bacteria to survive. It thereby helps prevent oral diseases and reduces infection in the oral cavity. In case of a mild infection, you can use an antibacterial mouthwash prescribed by your dentist. Because continuous use of mouthwashes without the advice of your dentist for an extended period causes staining and yellowing of teeth. So, kindly avoid using one without the advice of your dental professional.
  3. Do Flossing: Flossing helps remove the plaque and debris, which cannot be removed with regular toothbrushing. It helps in the debris present in between teeth and thereby prevents malodor. Although there is a lack of evidence to support flossing efficiency, the ADA has recommended it. Floss your teeth by moving the floss gently to reach the gumline and avoid up and down motions because these can cause pain and ineffective plaque removal.
  4. Use Fluoride: Fluoride plays an essential role in preventing dental cavities. Research states that fluoride deficiency might make individuals more prone to caries formation. Although fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes are available in the market, not all people use them. Therefore, the government has all taken measures by adding fluoride to the supply of drinking water so that every individual meets the requirement of needed fluoride. Also, it is important to note that water that has undergone reverse osmosis does not contain fluoride and many packed water bottles lack fluoride. Do use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes only at the advice of your dentist.
  5. Use Mouthwashes: Oral health can be enhanced by using certain mouthwashes, depending on the condition. Do not use a mouthwash without the advice of your dentist. Chlorhexidine-containing mouthwashes are beneficial in treating gum diseases by controlling plaque accumulation. Mouthwashes that can be used for bad breath or preventing cavity formation are also available. Consult with your dentist and choose the right mouthwash for you.
  6. Limit the Intake of Sugary and Sticky Foods: Avoid sticky foods and foods rich in sugar and starch, especially before bedtime, to prevent the formation of dental cavities. These foods contain sugars and starch, which sticks onto the tooth surface and breaks down into simple sugars. Acid-producing bacteria responsible for causing caries feed on these sugars and bring about dental cavities. Candies, desserts, bread, pasta, chips, processed foods, etc., should be avoided. Instead, take more fruits and vegetables rich in fiber and consume dairy products with no added sugar.
  7. Avoid Sugary Drinks: Sipping in soda or any other sugar drink increases the risk of developing dental caries. ADA suggests taking sugar drinks only during mealtime and sticking to water or any other unsweetened drink for the rest of the time.
  8. Regular Dental Check-Ups: Periodical cleaning of teeth and gums is always better than visiting your dentist once in 6 months and cleaning teeth (dental scaling) at least once a year to prevent bleeding gums and bad breath. Nowadays, this has become very important because we mostly have cooked food that does not allow proper cleaning and flushing away of debris from spaces in between the teeth. If you are having severe inflammation and bleeding through the gums, you should consult a dentist and do a periodic check-up for diabetes, as inflammation of the gums is the indicator of having diabetes. Also, any hard swelling inside the mouth has to be checked as soon as possible to rule out malignancies (tumors).
  9. Orthodontic Treatment and Dental Health: Go for orthodontic treatments (wire braces) only if necessary - as it results in some amount of destruction of periodontium and causes spacing between the teeth. Poor oral hygiene in patients wearing wire braces causes calculus (calcified deposits on the teeth) formation between the teeth. It also causes loosened teeth and bleeding gums. We need to remember that braces should be used for treatment rather than a beauty enhancement procedure. Those who undergo the treatment should know about maintaining oral hygiene during and after this treatment.
  10. Avoid Smoking: Avoid tobacco chewing and smoking to prevent mouth cancers. Also, smoking alters the body’s immune system, making it difficult for the body to heal on its own. It applies to oral tissues also. Smoking causes yellowish discoloration of the tongue and teeth and foul odor, increases the risk of developing gum and periodontal diseases, and results in delayed healing after a dental procedure.


Just like general health, oral health is also vital for the well-being of an individual. Following adequate prophylactic measures helps maintain good oral hygiene and prevent oral diseases. Therefore, follow the above steps, perpetuate your oral hygiene, and reduce the time and money you spend on a dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is Good Oral Hygiene?

Good oral hygiene involves an oral cavity that is free from microorganisms. The routine for good oral hygiene requires brushing and flossing. Good oral hygiene will keep an individual away from several health conditions. You can get counseling from your dentist and ask them to provide tips for maintaining good oral hygiene.


How Do You Maintain Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene can be maintained by practicing ideal brushing techniques. It is necessary to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Use a toothpaste that has fluoride content. In addition to this, you have to floss your teeth regularly. Usage of mouthwashes is also recommended. Oil pulling is a good habit for maintaining proper hygiene of the oral cavity.


What Are the Advantages of Healthy Oral Hygiene?

The advantages of healthy oral hygiene are:
- Prevents bad breath.
- Protection against several oral health conditions.
- Brightens the smile.
- Prevention of gingival and periodontal diseases.


Is Rinsing With Salt Water Recommended?

Saltwater is usually recommended only when there is pain and infection in the oral cavity or the throat. For a general reduction in the number of microorganisms, mouthwash is recommended. Saltwater has a promising property to kill the bacteria that is causing the infection. In mouthwashes, suitable chemicals are added to destroy the pathogens.


How to Whiten Teeth?

The yellow teeth can be overcome by a procedure called dental bleaching. Bleaching can be done in both clinical setup and home environments. The procedure that is done in the clinic has prolonged beneficial effects compared to the one that is done at home.


How to Whiten Yellow Teeth Naturally?

The below things serve as a natural remedy for overcoming the yellow teeth.
- Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
- Lemon, orange, or banana peels.
- Apple cider vinegar.
- Coconut oil pulling.
- Eating vegetables that are rich in water content.
- Activated charcoal.


How Do Bananas Whiten Your Teeth?

Banana peel is rich in magnesium and potassium. A small piece of a banana peel can help provide a white appearance to the teeth due to the absorption of minerals inside the enamel.


Is Lemon Beneficial for the Teeth?

Lemon is the most recommended source of vitamin C. The acidic content of lemon juice might result in the erosion of the enamel. The lemon juice that is added with sugar, the risk of decay in the teeth increases.


Can Hot Water Worsen the Condition of Your Teeth?

Hot water would not have a negative influence on the teeth because water is almost neutral. But, if you are consuming hot beverages like coffee and tea, it might cause damage to the enamel. In the long run, it will result in the sensitivity of the teeth.


What Are the Signs of Bad Oral Hygiene?

The following signs can indicate bad oral hygiene.
- Swelling and bleeding of the gums.
- Pain in the teeth.
- Dental caries.
- Plaque and calculus.
- The sensitivity of the teeth.


How to Identify the Infection in My Mouth?

Infections require help from qualified doctors for diagnosis. The patients might experience pus or swelling in a particular area that might indicate an infection. It is not good to misinterpret a condition. It is better to visit a dentist to identify the infections in the mouth.


How to Overcome Bacteria in the Mouth Naturally?

Sodium bicarbonate is a very good component for killing bacteria. You are advised to choose a toothpaste that is rich in sodium bicarbonate content. You can also gargle by mixing two teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate in water.
Dr. Naveen Thomas
Dr. Naveen Thomas



bleeding gumsgingival problemsgingival recessiondental scalingoral hygiene maintenance
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