Suitable steps to achieve a correct dental hygiene

How to take good care of your teeth

What is dental hygiene?

Dental hygiene is a process that involves the use of materials and techniques appropriate to have the teeth and gums healthy and beautiful.

Dental hygiene is not a present routine but part of a long-standing concern that has always existed in mankind.

In addition, the health of the mouth and teeth is necessary for the health of the whole body.

Brushing his teeth

Oral hygiene is the first protection against cavities. Our friend Flash always washes his teeth after eating and before bedtime


Who invented the first toothbrush?

The first toothbrush was invented by the Chinese in 1498. It was a brush that had the handle of bamboo and pig hairs.

In Europe, it began to be used in the seventeenth century, although its use did not become popular until the nineteenth century.

However, since time immemorial, man learned from experience that was necessary to preserve the teeth to maintain good health.

Surely men did the first dental cleaning using branches, leaves or herbs. It is known that the Romans cleaned their teeth after eating with a cloth soaked in chamomile tea or sage.

What were the first toothbrushes made of?

The first toothbrushes were made of wood and horsehair. Subsequently, these hairs were replaced by bristles of pigs. Both had the problem of retaining too much moisture and were very prone to the development of fungi and other microorganisms.

In addition, the hair was deformed and worn out too easily. The discovery of nylon material allowed to use other more durable and less deformable and, above all, not conducive to the development of microorganisms.

The first non-natural toothbrushes were produced in the United States in 1938. They were made with very rigid nylon, so they were very harsh. Subsequently it was discovered that flexible nylon made brushing more enjoyable.

When do toothpastes appeared for the first time?

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Tothpaste is used in combination with toothbrushes.

Natural toothpastes are very old. The Egyptians used them in the year 5000 BC. They were made from natural ingredients such as pumice, salt, or eggshell. The Romans used urine in their preparation.

The first were very abrasive toothpastes and scratched the enamel.

Over time, the ingredients were easing and improving to make the current product complex, as we shall see below this article.

In the early nineteenth century the first homemade toothpastes contained very specific ingredients as they were made from crushed brick and added salt and chalk.

The first toothpaste tube appears in the late nineteenth century when the company begins to market Colgate in 1896 because until then, it had been sold in jars.

Since 1911, the disclosure policy and expansion of this firm, through schools and advertising in the media, helped to strengthen the campaign of dental hygiene that dental associations and Ministries of Health have conducted.

Importance of dental hygiene

Performing a suitable dental hygiene is the best measure to prevent the microorganisms to use carbohydrates (sugars) deposited in the teeth to develop.

Failure to use proper oral hygiene can form what is known as dental plaque, a film set in the teeth and the gum in contact with teeth. Dental plaque is formed by the saliva along with the remains of dead bacteria and complex carbohydrates that bacteria produce from food sugars.

This protects and homes more than 300 bacteria, creating an acid that attacks tooth enamel and dentin, so they can cause tooth decay or periodontitis.


In order to perform this dental hygiene we must correctly use the materials and instruments of dental cleaning. The process of dental cleaning is a proper tooth and tongue brushing, followed by interdental cleaning (flossing) and proper rinsing. To do this, we must know what materials to use and how to do it.

How to brush your teeth?

How to use your toothbrush and tooth paste: They both are used to clean your teeth. To do this properly, you should take the following steps:

1. Put some paste on the brush and add some water

2. Brush the external part of all teeth: Place the brush on the teeth rather flat, so that the bristles are at an angle of 45º with respect to the teeth and make a shift of the same from inside out, starting at the level gum.

3. Brush the internal part of the front upper or lower teeth: Place the brush flatly on the inside of the front teeth and move it from inside to outside. Repeat for both upper and lower teeth.

4. The internal part of the back teeth: Place the bristles rather flat to the surface of the teeth and make a vertical displacement from the gum out.

5. Brush the chewing surface or flat part of the teeth: This is the wide portion of the teeth where food is chewed (occlusal area): Rotate the brush on the teeth and then scrub parallel to this area, from inside out.

6. Brush the surface of the tongue: On the surface of the tongue large numbers of bacteria are deposited. A good dental hygiene requires cleaning this part of the mouth in each of the processes of tooth brushing. To do this, you can use the same toothbrush or a specific brush for your tongue; gently brush it from front to back when you finish brushing your teeth.

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Suitable steps to clean your teeth properly ©

When and how long should you brush your teeth?

You should always brush your teeth after eating and before bedtime. We should brush the teeth after each meal. However, the most important cleaning is carried out before bedtime. During the day the saliva cleanses the mouth and drags into the stomach part of food particles and bacteria that could cause dental plaque.

At night, the mouth stops producing saliva, so it is easier for bacteria to act while we are sleeping.

Brushing should always be smooth. The toothbrush bristles should be in good condition to enter into the interdental spaces. It must be ensured that the bristles are not too worn or bent, in which case you should replace the brush. In any case, the length of a toothbrush should not exceed three months.

A good toothbrush should have a small head so you can access all sites; it should be rounded, so there’s no protruding edges that could injure the mouth, and must have an ergonomic handle with the right angle so that the bristles are kept properly placed on the teeth.

There are electric toothbrushes in the market. These may encourage brushing for people with motor problems, but they are not superior to manual brushes, in any case.

Why to use toothpaste?

What is a toothpaste?: It is the substance used to clean and conserve the teeth. It is used in combination with toothbrushes.

Although there are many varieties, the most common are pastes and powders. Today, they include fluorine and other antibacterial agents to prevent the formation of dental plaque.

A good toothpaste is aimed to clean the teeth without damaging them. It must not to be very abrasive. It must also protect the teeth and gums. Its composition must be such as not to irritate the mouth and at the same time, one must have a pleasant taste and it has to leave the mouth fresh.

What does a toothpaste contain?

To accomplish these objectives toothpastes have a number of components. The main ones are:

  • Active Principles: In this case it is usually the fluorine, with the function of eliminating the bacteria.
  • Abrasives: A dental abrasive is a product able to polish the dental surface, eliminating the residues stuck on the same. Among them we have, for example, calcium carbonate, silica or sodium benzoate.
  • Detergent: They are agents that remove the impurities. For example, lauryl sodium sulphate.
  • Humectants: Substances that hold moisture to the dough does not dry. The main one is the glycerin.
  • Thickening agents: These are the substances that provide consistency to the toothpaste. Most of them are derived from cellulose.
  • Preservatives: Sodium silicate or benzoates are used so as to keep toothpaste in good condition.

Aroma additives: They provide good odor and help to prevent halitosis. Extracts of aromatic plants are normally used, such as mint, sage, oregano, lemon, thyme, eucalyptus, anise. Between the main extracts we have menthol, thymol or eucalyptol.

Sweeteners: To give more flavor to toothpaste. These include sucrose, xylitol or saccharin.

Coloring agents: They provide a good aspect to toothpaste.

Other products that can enter the composition of a toothpaste are:

  • Anti sensitization agents: They are used to reduce the sensitivity of the teeth and make brushing more enjoyable. Among them there are fluorine or potassium nitrate.
  • Antiinflammatories: They contribute to lower gum inflammation. For example, allantoin, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid.
  • Bleaching agents: This is used especially after a dental cleaning. They help keep your teeth white. Among them, for example, we have carbamide peroxide

How to clean the space between the teeth?

  • Flossing: Dental floss is used to remove plaque between teeth, which sometimes is very difficult to access using only the brush. The “dental floss technique” should be done properly by people over 12 years. To do this we must do the following:
    • Cut a piece of dental floss of about 70 cm in length.
    • Wrap one end around the middle finger of the right hand. Repeat the same process in left hand so as to have the floss clutched in both hands and also have a free fragment which measures approximately 10 cm.
    • For the upper teeth, display the thumb of the right hand and left index finger tightening the floss on the two fingertips, so that frees two or three inches of thread.
    • Insert the floss between two teeth and, without force, take it to the gum with a sawing motion. When you reach the gum line, place the floss on the surface of a tooth, curving the floss in a “C”. Move the floss up and down this area. Perform the same operation with each of the front parts of the upper jaw teeth. To get new floss, we will unwind one hand and roll it to go on with the other.

    dental floss

    Dental floss is used to clean those parts of the teeth where toobrushes are not able to reach

  • For the lower teeth perform the same process, although it is best to tighten the string with the index fingers of each hand.
  • Once this operation is completed in each of the teeth, rinse your mouth with water to remove loose plaque or food debris.

The accomplishment of this operation produces bleeding the first times when the person is not used to it. After approximately one week, it stops bleeding. If bleeding persists, it is better to communicate it to the dentist.

People with large spaces between teeth can use an interdental brush instead of the interproximal dental floss. This will brush the spaces between the teeth without forcing them, rubbing the inside of the tooth from the inside out and outside-in.

dental hygiene

This girl, after brushing and flossing her teeth, is doing a mouth wash to complete her dental hygiene

More resources to have clean and healthy teeth

  • Mouthwashes: Mouthwashes are liquids that are used to help treat your teeth. Some are prepared with water, others contain alcohol.

They can be used, for example, to combat bad breath or to help remove plaque after brushing teeth, so that complement the action of the toothpaste.

The usual dose for each application that is often used is 20 ml for 1 minute. To do this pour a spoonful in your mouth and move the liquid inside your mouth. Then spit out the liquid and rinse with water.

  • Dental Chewing Gum: Used as a temporary resource to increase salivation, dragging bacteria and food. The best are those containing fluorine.

They can be carried and used in certain cases, when under special circumstances one has not been able to brush the teeth.

punto rojo More information on teeth, gums and mouth care.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 May, 2020

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.