Healthy habits

Top 10 essential lifestyle habits for excellent oral hygiene

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Most of us know that we should keep our mouths clean so that we don’t have bad breath, gum disease or cavities but poor oral hygiene is also reported to be linked to more serious disorders including inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory issues.  

The bottom line is that poor oral hygiene can shorten your life.

We often speak about the microbiome in our gut or on our skin but how often do you consider the microbes in your mouth?

You have a distinct community of microbes in your mouth that can only thrive on a clean healthy environment.

How can you create that environment?

Here’s 10 essential tips that you can implement into your wellbeing lifestyle to care for your teeth, gums and the microbe community in your mouth!

What is oral hygiene?

Keeping your mouth clean and disease free.

1. Change your toothbrush every time you or someone in your home is sick.

Although not essential, it is recommended.

Bacteria is only thought to survive on your toothbrush for around 24 hours in moist conditions and even less in an air dry space due to the fact that they generally die when exposed to oxygen, however when you are sick it can linger.

This can lead to reinfection or passing it on to other members of the household so it is also best not to store your toothbrushes anywhere that they are touching.

The infections that we are mostly at risk of transferring are group A Streptococcus or Strep throat and cold sores.  

The Strep bacteria can live up to 3 days on a rinsed toothbrush and 15 days on a non-rinsed toothbrush.

Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush after a taking prescribed antibiotics for 48 hours if you have Step throat.

If you do not want to buy an new toothbrush you can clean it by boiling, using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or leaving it in mouthwash for 20 minutes.

2. Get a new toothbrush every 3 months

Oral health professionals recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months or as soon as the bristles start to fall out or loose their stiffness. 

This includes the heads of electric toothbrushes.


  1. Bacterial build up on your toothbrush over time, 
  2. The bristles wear down or fray and they become sharper and courser which is not good for your gums.  It can also do damage to your tooth enamel.
  3. On worn out toothbrush doesn’t work as well and has a reduced ability to remove plaque.

3. Always brush your teeth before bed

Reasons you should be motivated to brush your teeth before going to bed:

  • Removes plaque – Brushing your teeth removes the plaque that the bacteria in your mouth excrete as it feeds on the foods you have been eating all day.  When this plaque hardens on your teeth it can damage the enamel of your teeth and promote cavities.
  • Prevents gum disease – The plaque that the bacteria excretes not only causes tooth decay but also can result in inflammation, receding gums and infections.
  • Stops bad breath – Leaving food particles in your mouth all night encourages bacterial growth leading to not just bad morning breath but chronic bad breath.
  • Reduces dry mouth – We do not produce much saliva when we sleep and this again helps bacteria to breed causing dry mouth.

4. Detox your mouth with oil pulling

Have you ever thought about how we cleaned our teeth before the invention of toothbrushes, which, by the way, only happened in the 1930’s!

For the 5000 years before the 20th we chewed sticks and did oil pulling.

What is oil pulling?

It’s an ancient Ayurveda medicine method of detoxifying your mouth.

How do you do it?

Dissolve a spoon of coconut oil (you can use other oils, but we prefer coconut!) in your mouth and swishing it around for between 10 and 20 minutes.

It’s a natural way to detoxify your mouth without chemicals or harmful toxins.

Contact us now for your oil pulling tutorial PDF!  Just send us your details with the button below!

Contact us now for your oil pulling tutorial PDF!

5. Drink plenty of water

About 60% of your body is water so we recommend that you drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day to stay hydrated and keep your cells healthy.

But, the added bonus of drinking plenty of water is that is great for your oral hygiene.

  • Drinking water washes away the left over food and other residue that feeds the bacteria and dilutes the acids that they produce.
  • Our saliva is actually 99% water.  Drinking enough water helps to keep up the production which is essential to swallowing, fighting tooth decay and preventing dry mouth.
  • When we become dehydrated our gums can swell and recede away from your teeth.  When this happens the plaque from the bacteria can collect and cause Gingivitis.
  • Generally the water we are drinking water contains the mineral fluoride which strengthens teeth and prevents cavities.

6. Use a mouthwash

5 benefits of adding mouth washing to your oral hygiene routine.

  • Having fresh breath – Swishing for 30 seconds with a good mouthwash will freshen the taste in your mouth and help you to feel confident with your breath.  
  • Extra cleaning – Using a mouth wash after you have brushed makes sure that you get all of the residue and food particles that might have been missed!
  • Prevents cavities – Most mouth wash contain fluoride to kill bacteria and strengthen enamel.  Flouride also helps to reduce sensitivity.
  • Fights against gum disease – It is recommended that swishing with mouth wash twice a day will help with Gingivitis.
  • Helps to promote saliva production – If you have problems with dry mouth look for a mouth wash has ingredients to help you stimulate saliva production.

Our favourite mouthwash is from Aesop!

How to use Aesop mouthwash?

Morning and evening after brushing, or as required, gargle 10 to 20 mL Mouthwash for up to 30 seconds, then expel.

7. Visit your dentist twice a year

Having a dental check up and seeing the dental hygienst for a deep clean every 6 month is recommended. 

If you have issues with your diet or are predisposed to gum disease you might need to go more frequently.

These visits not only keep your teeth brighter and whiter, free of difficult to reach plaque and tartar that cause gum disease and keep bacteria in check, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to keep an eye on possible cavities and other possible issues. 

It you are afraid of the dentist or not very regular with your check ups it’s easy to let these visits slide but there will be consequences!

Try to always book your next appointment ahead every time you go!


8. Floss regularly

It is recommended that you floss your teeth once a day before brushing as this allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to penetrate between the teeth for better results.

Flossing is the way you can remove any left over food or plaque that is stuck between you teeth which can lead to cavities and gum disease.

When the plaque hardens it become tartar (or calculus) which collects along your gumline.  Tartar can promote gum disease, discolouration of your teeth and in worst cases loose teeth or Periodontitis.  It can only properly be removed by a dentist.

Flossing also helps prevent gingivigtis and bad breath.

Types of floss you can use include:

  • waxed or unwaxed thread
  • super floss for wide gaps
  • floss picks
  • air flossers
  • water flossers

9. Clean your tongue

It’s not proven that cleaning your tongue can stop tooth decay or gum disease however most of the bacteria in your mouth live on this unique muscle.

Why is unique?  Well, it’s the only muscle in the body that is attached only at one end and also doesn’t use any skeletal bones to support it!

Maintaining a clean and healthy tongue makes sense if you want to have a fresh mouth and good breath.

If you decide to include cleaning your tongue in your oral hygiene routine you should consider:

  • Clean it twice a day after brushing.  A 2014 study showed that the practice only works to reduce bacteria if done regularly.
  • Be kind as it is very sensitive!
  • Use a gentle bristle toothbrush or tongue scraper.  A 2004 study reported that using a tongue scraper removed the volatile sulphuric compounds that caused bad breath by 75% while a toothbrush only removed 45%.
  • Using a mouthwash will also clean your tongue.
  • Your taste perceptions might change.

10. Eat a diet to supports your mouth microbiome

We have about 700 different varieties of bacteria in our mouth and your mouth flora is like your finger print, it is unique to you.

Our goal is to keep this flora healthy and balanced with good microbiome bacteria to prevent cavities, gum disease, cancer, inflammation and bad breath.

Eating probiotic foods is the key to keeping your oral microbiome healthy and stopping bad breath.  Try including these foods daily into your diet.

  • yoghurt
  • kimchi
  • kefit
  • pickled beetroot
  • miso 
  • sauerkraut

Green & black teas also kill or control bad bacteria.  They contain polyphenols that prevent the bacteria from growing and making the acid that damages your teeth.

Other foods that are great for your oral health include:

  • Black raspberries – Studies show that they can help prevent oral cancer.
  • Fibre rich fruits and vegetables – Good for getting the saliva going.
  • Cheese, milk and yoghurt – The calcium and phosphates in dairy helps put minerals back in your teeth and strengthen enamel.

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