As we consider our fitness and nutritional goals for the new year, it’s also important to review our oral hygiene practices which can greatly benefit – or deter – our overall well-being. 

It is recommended to brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes to help reduce the risk of cavities and periodontitis. Electric toothbrushes not only help with superior plaque removal but are also easier to use. They have a timer plus oscillating/rotating technology that helps clean the teeth much better than a manual toothbrush. Use a soft bristle, round toothbrush head as the round shape is smaller in size and allows for better access to different surfaces of the tooth. Some individuals may think that a medium or firm bristle toothbrush does a better job cleaning the teeth, however, they can be too abrasive and lead to recession and sensitivity over time. 

Cleaning between the teeth daily is also important. Flossing is the best way to clean the interdental surfaces, removing food and plaque. Proper flossing technique includes wrapping the floss around each surface of the tooth and to move in an up-and-down direction 2-3 times. For those who find it hard to floss daily or simply dislike the activity, floss picks are now available and come with a nice grip, making it easier to clean between the teeth. Better yet, water flossers allow for easier removal of food particles, plaque and bacteria that get stuck in between the teeth and underneath the gumline. They also provide a “deeper cleaning,” reaching further into the gum pockets. It is also a great practice for patients with periodontal disease since plaque and bacteria tend to get trapped in deeper gum pockets. 

After brushing and flossing at night, it is important not to eat or drink any food or beverages other than water. The amount of saliva that we produce decreases while we sleep. If we consume sugary foods or drinks after brushing, our teeth are more susceptible to adhering plaque and bacteria since saliva’s role is to buffer the acid created by cavity-causing bacteria. 

Our diet also plays a crucial role in our oral hygiene routine. A diet low in sugars and processed carbohydrates can benefit our overall health, as well as our dental health. Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates tend to cause plaque development by sticking to the teeth for longer periods of time. The quantity and frequency of sugary or acidic food are also important to consider, as consuming sugar and acidic foods more frequently can increase the risk of developing cavities. 

By following a proper oral hygiene routine and limiting the amount of sugar, acid and processed carbohydrates, one can maintain great oral hygiene. It is also important to visit your dentist and dental hygienist for regularly scheduled dental check-ups and cleanings. If it has been longer than six months since your last dental visit, be sure to schedule one as soon as possible. 

Sarah Khoshniyati (“Dr. Sarah”) is a dentist with Palm Desert Smiles and can be reached at (760) 568.3602. Visit

Read or write a comment

Comments (0)


Living Wellness with Jenniferbanner your financial health michelle sarnamentoring the futureNaturopathic Family Medicine with Dr. ShannonThe Paradigm Shift in Medicine TodayConventionally Unconventional with Kinder Fayssoux, MD