Tips for Oral Health Excellence

Barbara Tritz
· June 14, 2023 ·

6 minutes

Tips and tricks for a healthy mouth

These last 13 days of blog posts have been educational (but not uplifting). I wanted to share with you how very important oral health is to the entire body’s well-being. We have talked about the importance of nasal breathing, nasal health, mouth breathing, and then all things oral that are important for brain health. Today we transition to my favorite oral health tips and some unique tools you may not know about. Let’s find what works for you to make sure your teeth, gums, and breath are their very best.

Oral health and wellness start with the things we put in our mouths: food, water, breathing, and of course oral tools. Let’s explore these topics for the next week (or so).

The Basics

Let’s start at the beginning with the basics. The lowly toothbrush. How you brush matters a lot.

We start with toothbrushing and toothbrushes because everyone always asks me what brush is the best. I can only say: “It depends.” It really depends on the operator. A tool is only as good as the person operating it, their technique matters. (Except I have used some really poor quality brushes so occasionally it is the brush. The bottom line is – you get what you pay for in toothbrushes. Cheap brushes are cheap for a reason so buy the best toothbrush you can afford.)

Toothbrushing Tips

The purpose of the toothbrush/toothbrushing is to remove plaque biofilm and food debris. Man has been cleaning his teeth for centuries. Before the invention of the modern toothbrush he used tooth-cleaning twigs – “Miswak” or “Neem” sticks. Both these woods have antibacterial qualities and research documents their effectiveness. How much more natural can we get?!

Miswak – the ultimate natural toothbrush

I recommend brushing every 12 hours to disrupt and remove that plaque biofilm that is growing and living in the mouth. If your teeth feel fuzzy in the middle of the day, you did not thoroughly remove all the plaque during the morning brushing. Plaque biofilm grows quite rapidly. If things don’t feel smooth and slick after lunch then I recommend brushing longer. Even better, ask your fabulous dental hygienist to show you better brushing techniques. Sometimes you just have to head to the sink and practice.

#1. Brush gently in little tiny circles. No back and forth like you are cleaning grout. No scrubbing.

#2. Brush your gums. If you are brushing gently and in little tiny circles, you will not cause recession and sentitive teeth.

Please clean your gums. Brush into the gumline and all the way into the cheeks and inner lips. Plaque accumulates on the gums, under the gums, on dental appliances, and even tonsils. Plaque especially likes the nooks and crevices along the gumline. Disclosing tablets let you see where you leave plaque. Brush your gums. The pink on the picture below means there’s “new” plaque. Purple is an old plaque (over 48 hours old).

Old Forgotten left-behind (Purple stained ) Plaque Along the Gumline

#3. Brush the cheeks and roof of the mouth. Plaque’s there too.

#4. Brush twice a day- I suggest to my patients to brush every 12 hours.

#5. Spend a good two minutes brushing with an electric brush. Your electric brush has a timer, and most also have a pause/pacer at 30 seconds to let you know to move to the next quadrant.

That’s about 4.2 seconds per tooth. Sometimes that’s just not enough time to get all the plaque off.

If you use a manual toothbrush- please brush longer. It really takes about 10 minutes with a manual brush to get all the plaque off. Disclosing tablets show you just how effective you really are at removing plaque. Electric brushes are more efficient. (But 4.2 seconds per tooth is really not enough…)

Worn out Manual Toothbrushes

#6. If you prefer a manual brush, please dry brush. No toothpaste no water. Just brush until your teeth feel and taste clean. Toothpaste often numbs your tongue so you really cannot feel if the tooth is clean. (Thus the reason they feel fuzzy midafternoon.) After your teeth feel and taste clean then use a pea-sized dab of your favorite toothpaste. Brush, spit and if you are using a remineralizing toothpaste leave it on there. Don’t rinse that off. It is medicine and has a job to do so leave it can continue to work.

#7. Electric toothbrushes often give off EMFelectromagnetic field – radiation. Some of my patients prefer to use a manual brush because of this. EMF radiation can have health implications for some people and this is an entire blog for a future post.

Electric Toothbrushes give off EMFs

There are several options for non EMF brushes (in addition to the previously mentioned Miswak):

Battery powered brushes: these are not my favorite but they do the job. I don’t love how they chatter on the teeth. But: No EMF’s. They are inexpensive and get the job done. That’s two pluses for battery powered brushes.

The Kyoui: pronounced “Q ee”

The Kyoui is my favorite gentle unique electric toothbrush. It has an angled head which I use VERTICALLY. I brush one tooth at a time and because it is VERTICAL, I am also brushing my gums. I brush longer than two minutes. Brush in the shower – the perfect time to spend a little longer brushing. This is called habit stacking. Add it in to something you do routinely.

Kyoui Unique Oral care

The Kyoui also has an end tufted brush head that is tiny and fits in those nooks and crevices that trap plaque. They are the only electric brush with this feature. If you have a small mouth, tight crowed teeth, braces, fixed appliances, or crowns/bridges or that dreaded fixed lingual wire from orthodontics then this handy tip is perfect for you.

The Kyoui’s special tiny head the cleans tight places

(for a Kyoui discount: BARBARATRITZsave10% )

Children can certainly benefit from electric brushes too. I need to do some more research on an EMF-free child brush so stay tuned!

#8. Scrape your tongue with a metal tongue cleaner. Children can do this too. In a pinch, you can turn a spoon over and use that edge to squeeze the plaque out. Your tongue has lots more of the same plaque as your teeth and gums. It is just hiding down in the follicles. Think of your tongue as a shag carpet. Your teeth will stay cleaner if your tongue is cleaner. And your breath will be much better.

Tongeue cleaner
Clean your tongue twice daily

##9. Change your electric brush heads or your manual toothbrush with the seasons. A change of season is coming up so stock up on new heads and change everyone in the family at the same time. Brushing with a tired old worn out brush/brush head is ineffective, does not clean as well and could do damage to the gums.

Change your brushes with the seasons

#10. Smile! You are a ten!

Smile! You Got This.

Now you know some new and uniquetoothbrush tips for plaque removal for a healthier mouth.


Barbara Tritz

Queen of Dental Hygiene and Toothbrush Tips

Hello, I'm Barbara Tritz

Unveiling the Stories Behind Dental Hygiene

Loving science, especially biology, from an early age, Barbara is a registered dental hygienist, certified biological hygienist, and orofacial myofunctional therapist. In 2019, she received the Hu-Friedy/ADHA Master Clinician Award from the American Dental Hygienist Association.

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