Local Dental Blogs - Philadelphia, PA

What Does a Good Oral Hygiene Routine Look Like?

We all learned proper oral hygiene growing up. However, due to forgetfulness, tiredness, being in a rush, or simple laziness, we sometimes forego one or more important components of our routine.

Yet if you skip any parts of your oral hygiene routine, your teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth may suffer in both health and appearance. A good oral hygiene routine not only keeps your mouth healthy but keeps your teeth shining bright.

Here at Absolute Smile, our goal is to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. We thought we’d give a refresher of each part of a good oral hygiene routine so you never forget a step.

Oral Hygiene Routine Outline

A good oral hygiene routine has 4 parts.
Cleaning your tongue

They should be completed in that order as well.

Read below for more details on how to do each one properly.


Always use a soft-bristle brush when brushing. Angle the toothbrush upwards 45 degrees to target the gum line. Applying enough pressure to barely feel the brush, brush each surface of the tooth several times before moving to the next.

Brush all 3 surfaces of each teeth: the outer surface, the inner surface (behind the tooth), and the chewing surface. In total, the process should take 2 minutes; spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.

Brushing should be done 2-3 times per day, preferably after meals to scrub away food particles.

Can Your Brush Too Much?

There is such a thing as brushing too much. In fact, excessive brushing can damage both your teeth and your gums.

See, too much brushing causes “toothbrush abrasion” which is brushing-related damage to tooth enamel. It can also damage the gums, causing them to recede and possibly expose the sensitive root area.

With that in mind, don’t brush more than 3 times daily.


Wind about 18 inches of floss and wind it around either the middle or index finger of one hand (whichever is most comfortable), then wind a small amount of it around the other finger. Doing this allows you to “unwind” the floss slowly in 2-inch increments so you can have a clean section for each tooth.

Guide the floss in between the first tooth with your index finger using a gentle zig-zag motion to avoid cutting hard into the gums. Bend the floss around the tooth and gently slide it up and down. Make sure to get under the gum line as well.

When you move onto the next tooth, “unwind” the next 2-inch section so you have clean floss and repeat.

Cleaning Your Tongue

Tongue scrapers are most effective at cleaning the tongue, but toothbrushes work as well.

To use a tongue scraper, first, stick your tongue out as far as possible. Then, place the scraper at the back of your tongue. Applying gentle pressure, slowly scrape forward to the front of the tongue.

Wash off the scraper with warm water to clean off particles that clung to it, then repeat several more times.

For toothbrushes: take a soft-bristle brush, stick out your tongue, and position the brush at the back of the tongue like a scraper. Gently brush forward and backward to clean the tongue. Rinse the brush in warm water and repeat once more if necessary.


Mouthwash serves several purposes:
Grabs loose and stubborn particles missed by the rest of your routine
Kills bacteria
Contributes to the remineralization process, helping to strengthen weak enamel and prevent cavities
Great breath freshener

To use mouthwash effectively, pour about 20 milliliters into the cap of your bottle and pour it into your mouth. Swish for 30 seconds

If you can’t swish for 30 seconds, that’s fine. Slowly work up to it over time.

Lastly, rinse once daily, and don’t eat food for 30 minutes afterward to avoid rubbing the mouthwash of your teeth. Before bed is an ideal time, as you’re less likely to be eating or drinking anything and you’ll be going a long time without cleaning your teeth.

A Good Oral Hygiene Routine Does Most (But Not All) of the Work

A good oral hygiene routine alone will do a lot for your oral health, but you have to complement your routine with dentist visits to get any stubborn spots and identify potential oral issues before they become real problems.

If you’re looking to get your teeth cleaned in the Philadelphia area, contact Absolute Smile!

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