What's your skincare routine like? Among the cleansers, toners, and serums alone, it's probably got at least five steps, and you definitely know what order those steps go in.
But what about your dental routine? According to dentists, your twice-daily dental routine should actually consist of several steps that go in a very specific order, just as for skin care. But most folks aren't aware of that or just don't care to dedicate time to yet another multistep routine (relatable).
As London-based periodontist Reena Wadia hypothesises, that's because skin care often offers immediate results, whereas the rewards of dental care can be more delayed.
"The science of skin care has programmed us to strive for instantly visible results that are both flawless and long-lasting," she says.
"While some of the benefits of dental, and especially preventative care, may not be outright visible, they are incredibly impactful for the long term."
Dedicating time to a full dental-care routine (and doing it in the right order, which is actually a thing) is one of the best investments you can make for yourself, according to Wadia.
So, what does an ideal dental-care routine look like? In what order should we be brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash every morning and night?
1: Start with a rinse in the morning
Many people might use mouthwash as the last step in their routine, but Rob Raimondi, a New York City dentist, recommends rinsing first — morning and night.
"When we are sleeping, our salivary glands stop secreting saliva, and opportunistic aerobic bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities increase their activity," he explains.
2: Clean between your teeth
It might sound backward, but yes, you're supposed to floss before you brush your teeth.
As Wadia explains, a toothbrush (even when used effectively) can only reach the front and back sides of teeth. Flossing after you brush is certainly better than not flossing at all — she likens no flossing at all to only cleaning one side of a dirty dish and putting it back in the cupboard.
That said, it's best if the floss comes first "so that when you do brush your teeth, the toothpaste can have good access in between the teeth," says Wadia. Our Silk Floss refills are currently on sale, so be sure to stock up before they run out!
3: Brush with patience
You already know the rule: You ought to be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes every time — Huang, Wadia, and Raimondi all agree on this.
We recommend pairing our Bamboo Toothbrush with your favourite flavour of Tooth Tabs!
4: Scrape that gunk off your tongue
If you're not brushing or scraping your tongue every post-brush every day, you're highly increasing your chances of gnarly breath.
"The tongue is made up of lots of little crypts, which can harbour bacteria and debris," Wadia says. "If these are not regularly removed, a tongue coating forms, and this is one of the biggest causes of bad breath." Gross.
Huang and Raimondi also recommend that you clean your tongue — if not with a manual toothbrush then with a stainless steel tongue scraper.
Four steps, that's it. Not so bad once you spell it all out, right? So next time you're doing your nightly 12-step skin-care routine, don't forget to spend at least a fraction of that effort on the health of your mouth and teeth.