Nargiz I. Zadeh, DMD
General, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry
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Important Oral Hygiene Tips You Should Know

February 2, 2022
Posted By: Dr. Nargiz I. Zadeh, DMD

Good oral hygiene is the cheapest and easiest way to take care of your teeth. Yet, most people still struggle maintaining good oral hygiene either because they don't prioritize it, or their technique is incorrect. Knowing these few simple tips from your Tarzana dentist can help you start building better habits today to clean your teeth effectively.



Make Small Goals and Write Them Down!
One of the main reasons people have bad oral hygiene is that they don’t make time for it. If you’re looking to habituate an oral hygiene routine, like flossing, then start by writing down two days a week that you’ll commit to doing it a planner, calendar, or your phone. Once you’re consistent with two days a week for a couple of months, then add a third day, and so on. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it every day from the start. Gradual change will help form habits that stick.


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Understand the Importance of Nightly Routines
You may have heard your dentist or hygienist tell you to brush twice a day—morning and night—and floss once daily. However, the nighttime routine is the one that’s commonly skipped even though it’s the most important. Understanding why nightly brushing takes priority over the morning routine may motivate you to think twice before skipping it. First off, our mouth tends dry out when we’re in a resting state because salivary flow decreases. Leftover food in the teeth is not washed away as often in this dry environment and creates breeding grounds for bacteria that cause cavities. Additionally, if you wear a nightguard or retainer, putting it on over dirty teeth will trap residual food particles in place for bacteria to feast on.  


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The Right Protocol
When you’re getting ready to do your oral hygiene routine, are you ever confused what to start with, flossing or brushing? If you’re using a fluoridated toothpaste (which you always should), then you want the fluoride to contact as much tooth surface as possible. To do that, you should floss first to remove any food particles from between the teeth as brushing doesn’t remove these. Next, rinse with mouthwash for extra fluoride or antimicrobial treatment. Finally, brush thoroughly to allow the toothpaste to flow over all the crevices of the teeth, making sure to reach the areas along the tongue and roof of the mouth.


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Brush and Floss with Purpose
Patients occasionally present with evidently inflamed gums and cavities confused why their oral health is not great when they brush and floss regularly. When we give them a mirror and show them the proper brushing and flossing technique, they immediately realize what the problem is. It’s not enough to quickly go through the motions of snapping a string in between each tooth or scrubbing your teeth for two minutes. The space between our teeth has two sides that need to be flossed, so you need to make sure the floss fully passes down the gumline on each side. It even helps to go twice over spaces that are common food traps. When brushing, focus on angling the brush head towards the gumline. Focus on adequately cleaning each tooth surface, not just the ones that are easiest to reach. Lastly, don’t scrub hard thinking it will clean your teeth better because this will cause your gums to recede. Brush gently, but thoroughly.


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These are just a few tips to consider when trying to find what works best for you. Keep in mind that regular dental hygiene visits are also a great time to review your technique with Dr. Nargiz Zadeh and her Tarzana dental team. We are always available to answer your questions and educate you on proper oral hygiene practices. Schedule your appointment with our team today!


Testimonial from Leonard, Satisfied Patient
Everyone was kind, courteous. and very professional. Made what is normally an unpleasant experience. very pleasant. Will return and leave the care of my teeth in their very capable hands. Highly recommend.