The daily drill

Simple tips for good dental hygiene

blankDaily oral hygiene is easy—brush, floss, rinse—and you’re done. Here’s the correct way to go about it.


  • Take a good amount of paste on your brush.
  • Use short, gentle strokes.
  • Give proper attention to brush the gums, back teeth and teeth with fillings, crowns or other restoration.
  • Start with cleaning your front upper teeth first. Clean the outer surface by tilting the brush against the gumline at a 45 degree angle and using sweeping and rolling motions.
  • Now, move on to the outer surface of your front lower teeth, cleaning in the same way.
  • Next, clean the inner surface of the upper teeth followed by inner surfaces of the lower teeth.
  • Then move on the top of the back teeth—the chewing surfaces—using short back and forth strokes, followed by inside and outside of the back teeth. Here too, start with the upper teeth followed by the lower teeth.
  • Rinse thoroughly. And gently brush your tongue to rid it of bacteria.


  • Wind some floss—about 18 to 24 inches—around index fingers of each hand leaving some floss in between your fingers. You can also wind it around your middle fingers using index fingers to pinch the floss and direct the floss along upper teeth with your thumbs. Whichever way you opt for, ensure that you get a proper grip.
  • Start by flossing your rear molars and move forward.
  • Gently guide the floss using zig zag or sawing motion. Do not use force.
  • Work the floss in a C-shape. Also take care to scrape the floss around your teeth.
  • When flossing in-between teeth, go as far as possible [gently] until you meet resistance.
  • When you have finished flossing one tooth, take a fresh part of floss for the next one.
  • Rinse your mouth every now and then—maybe after flossing two or three teeth. This helps dislodge the tartar and you’ll also know if your gums are bleeding.


  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day; it helps reduce 52 per cent more plaque and 21 per cent more gingivitis than brushing and flossing alone, according to a clinical study.
  • Make it a habit to rinse before you go to bed. This is because when we sleep, our mouth is dry, allowing plaque and gingivitis germs to multiply. Rinsing before bed kills these germs keeping your mouth clean.
  • To rinse properly, take the required amount of mouthwash [as specified by the manufacturer or your dentist] into your mouth.
  • Then, close your lips and with teeth slightly apart, swish the mouthwash around with as much force as possible using tongue, lips, and sucking action of the cheeks.
  • While you swish, move the liquid around to all sides of your mouth—the front and each side.
  • Swish for at least 30 seconds to one minute [check the container for instructions] and throw out. Do not swallow the liquid.
Ashok Dhoble
Dr Ashok Dhoble is a renowned orthodontist who has also served as the Hon Secretary General of Indian Dental Association[IDA]. He has had the distinction of being the advisor to the Government of Maharashtra, Department of Public Health and Medical Education.


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