oral hygiene care 101

Oral Hygiene 101: The 5 Steps to a Perfect Smile

“Oral hygiene” may be not be the sexiest four syllables you can utter, but fresh breath and white teeth are key to making a good impression. And aesthetics aren’t the only reason to keep your teeth and gums in good shape: There may be a connection between poor oral care and heart disease, for example. Read on to "brush up" on the dos and don’ts of oral care.

1. Brush

Done properly, brushing can remove plaque and food, prevent cavities and tartar from forming, and save you a painful (and costly) trip to the dentist. Just don’t scrub too hard, and use a soft brush to prevent damage to enamel or gum irritation. Electric toothbrushes are a great way to get a deep clean without getting in the habit of over-scrubbing: The FOREO Issa even has a flexible head to better reach back teeth. Pair it with the Marvis Whitening Toothpaste for a gleaming, fluoride-fortified smile.

2. Floss

Flossing is an essential part of tooth and gum care. Whether you like a water flosser, dental pick, or good old-fashioned dental tape, what’s important is to clean in between your teeth and gums at least once a day. Flossing is the best way to remove plaque before it hardens into tartar, and get rid of stubborn food particles before they become a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.

One note: Flossing shouldn’t be painful. If your gums feel puffy or even bleed when you floss, you might have gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to gum disease if left untreated, so call your dentist if you notice any increased sensitivity.

3. Rinse

Rinsing shouldn’t be a substitute for brushing or flossing, but it can complement your oral care routine. There are a variety of reasons to rinse: to reduce plaque, to freshen breath, and to help reduce gingivitis; or maybe you just really enjoy that squeaky-clean feeling. The ultra-minty mouthwash by Marvis kills germs and bacteria, leaving breath fresh for hours.

4. Whiten

Even the healthiest teeth can lose their luster—especially if you enjoy coffee, tea, or red wine. Restore your blinding smile with the high-tech GLO Science teeth-whitening device, which uses heat, optic waves, and a whitening gel to gently remove stains without causing sensitivity. Because whitening can leave lips susceptible to chapping, GLO Science includes a balm to protect lips and gums. We also recommend Brickell’s matte formula with SPF and Jack Black’s shea butter lip balm, which is smooth but not slick.

5. Maintain

Assuming you don’t tote a roll of floss everywhere you go, there are some tricks to keeping teeth clean and bright in between brushings. Try the pocket-sized GLO Science teeth-whitening pen, which instantly freshens breath and stops stains before they set.

In a pinch, pop a piece of sugar-free gum after meals—chewing promotes the flow of saliva, which rinses away plaque and prevents cavities from forming. But be sure to check the ingredients: Plaque-causing bacteria use sugar to produce acids that lead to decay, so in this case, an artificial sweetener like sorbitol is the way to go.

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