Oral Hygiene at Home


Maintaining a healthy mouth doesn’t stop at dental or hygiene visits, the most important way to maintain a healthy mouth is a good routine that is carried out at home. 

It is vital to ensure that practices empower their patients with as much information as possible to enable them to achieve a high standard of oral hygiene.

Good Practice

It would be good practice to develop a home education leaflet describing a good oral health routine, which could consist of:

  • Educating patients to brush their teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing 1350 – 1500ppm fluoride (unless prescribed a higher dose), once during the day and in the evening before bed.
  • Ensure all surfaces of the tooth, and the gum line is brushed in a circular motion.
  • Spit out after brushing but do not rinse.
  • Use a toothbrush with a small/medium brush head – ideally an electric brush.
  • Use interdental brushes or floss.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks in your diet.

Make patients aware that they should replace their toothbrushes or toothbrush heads every 3 months or when the bristles are worn.

You could also supply patients with a list of websites for e-learning or education videos from Youtube.

While taking this opportunity to educate your patients also inform them of other aspects of oral care. Advise them of local stop smoking services (where applicable) as this will affect their gums and increase their risk of gum disease as well as oral cancer. If they have Diabetes advise them of the fact that if they have poor sugar control, this can increase the risk of gum disease. Lastly, remind them that some medications can affect gum health such as dry mouth or enlarged gums.

Reduce the Risk of Oral Cancer

Although the main risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol, combining the two on a regular basis multiplies those risks. To reduce the risk of developing oral cancer drink less than 14 units per week, quit smoking and using smokeless tobacco, and increase your intake of non-starchy vegetables and fruit.

Education in oral hygiene for patients plays a vital role in appointment times with patients and arming them with the right products and educational material for their oral health routine will help your patients achieve success both in and out of your practice.

ByRick Craven