In the US, we’re constantly bombarded with messages concerning our health. We frequently learn about the latest cancer risks, heart disease causes and factors influencing any number of other conditions. However, oral health is rarely discussed. With mounting evidence linking oral health with overall health, it’s time we start placing greater significance on oral hygiene habits.

To do our small part in what must become a larger campaign, we’ve put together a list of 10 helpful tips for achieving optimal oral health.

10 Tips for Optimal Oral Health

1. Brush at least 2 times per day – Brushing your teeth at least 2 times per day is the number one way to reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop common oral conditions such as Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) or Halitosis (Bad Breath).

2. Use the proper equipment – It’s best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. The toothbrush can be electric or manual, but soft bristles are easier on the gums.

3. Brush for at least 2 minutes – The average person only brushes their teeth for 20 seconds. Think of brushing as a shower for your teeth. Do you take 20 second showers? No. Then, you shouldn’t brush your teeth in 20 seconds, either. Shoot for 2 minutes.

4. Ditch the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months – Toothbrush bristles generally become frayed and less rigid after about 3-4 months. So, it’s best to ditch it and buy a new one at this point.

5. Drink Water – Not only is water great for your overall health, but it’s also good for your teeth. Why? Water rinses your teeth and removes bacterial buildup. Water is also good for your teeth because it lacks enamel-eroding acid and sugar like many other popular beverages.

6. Avoid sticky or chewy foods – Sticky or chewy foods such as raisins, taffy, popcorn, etc. should be avoided because they often get stuck in every nook or cranny of your teeth – leading to bacteria buildup and larger problems down the road.

7. Floss at least once every day – This is a big one that many people neglect. Flossing sucks, let’s be honest. But, it’s a necessary evil if we want to ensure that food particles are nut stuck between our teeth and causing plaque buildup.

8. Don’t Smoke – We don’t have to tell you that smoking is one of the worst things you can do if your goal is to be healthy. Much like the rest of the body, your teeth are severely damaged by smoking. Smoking can form cancerous or precancerous lesions on your oral tissue – not good.

9. Use a toothbaste with fluoride – Fluoride has been found to prevent tooth decay – so make sure your toothpaste contains it.

10. Visit your dentist regularly – Schedule visits to your dentist 1-2 times per your for exams and cleanings. Besides the “Oh-So-Fresh” feeling you leave the dentist with, you’ll ensure that your oral care regimen is on track.

What would you add to the list

So, there you have it. Do you have any tips that should be added to the list? Please add it in a comment below.

Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +