How to Habit Stack Your Oral Health Routine: 10 Steps to Optimal Dental Wellness


Well into 2024, it’s a great time to reflect on your healthy new year’s resolutions, how they are going and ways you can take it up a notch. If you neglected oral hygiene as part of your New Year, New You plan, I’m here to tell you that oral health is more than a beautiful smile and healthy teeth; the mouth is the gateway to body-wide healing and could be the missing link to optimal health.

Simple oral care strategies can become a part of your daily routine, help you reduce plaque, build a healthy oral microbiome, and prevent dental health issues down the road. Good dental hygiene also means a lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Let’s talk about how we can apply habit stacking strategies to make your new oral regimen super-efficient, and second nature.

Today’s article will walk you through ten oral care strategies for optimal dental and total-body wellness. You likely already have some of these strategies in place and can easily stack others into your oral hygiene routine seamlessly. Keep reading to learn more about how to take care of your teeth, gums, and mouth.

We’ll cover:

  • Tooth brushing and how long should you brush your teeth
  • Tongue brushing
  • Dental visits
  • Tobacco use (stop now)
  • Healthy beverages
  • Nutrition for good hygiene

10 Dental Health Essentials for Optimal Oral Hygiene

Let’s start with the basics. What is dental hygiene? Oral hygiene refers to all the daily habits that promote a healthy mouth and an optimal oral microbiome. Good oral hygiene affects whole-body health via the mouth-body connection. Hygiene is a preventative tool to stop problems before they progress.

Let’s look at ten ways to promote optimal oral hygiene and health.

Brush your Teeth Twice Daily

It’s not surprising that brushing your teeth (twice daily) is at the top of the list. Poor dental hygiene can lead to gingivitis and gum disease, but brushing your teeth is considered dental prevention. This simple practice is critical for removing plaque and bacteria to promote healthy teeth and gums. Be mindful of what toothpaste you use. I always recommend REVITIN, a toothpaste I designed with prebiotic nutrients to support your mouth’s natural ecology and a balanced oral microbiome.

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

Brush teeth for two minutes using a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward your gums and replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) regularly, every three months maximum. If you miss areas or struggle with brushing, have your dental hygienist or dentist review the proper brushing technique.

Additionally, I’m going to say it again; brush with a microbiome-friendly toothpaste, like REVITIN.

Add Daily Flossing to Your Brushing Routine

Daily flossing is also essential for good oral health and simple to habit stack on top of your brushing. Consider it gingivitis and gum disease self-care and prevention. Flossing helps remove plaque between teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. If you have bleeding or inflamed gums, you might need to floss more

Brush Your Tongue

Should you brush your tongue? Yes! Brush your tongue as part of daily mouth care. You’re already brushing your teeth, so take a few moments to include your tongue.

Tongue brushing or using a tongue scraper helps remove unwanted bacteria from the mouth contributing to gingivitis, gum disease, and bad breath. In one study, people who self-reported tongue cleaning had lower rates of gum inflammation and bleeding.

Replace Mouthwash with Microbiome Supporting Foods

Mouthwashes are harsh, can cause side effects, and disrupt the delicate oral microbiome. Read all about mouthwash in my recent article Is Mouthwash Bad for You?

Instead of disrupting the oral microbiome with mouthwash, let’s support the oral microbiome with real, whole foods. Foods that support oral microbiome health, include:

  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, and kefir. Anything naturally fermented with live bacterial cultures introduces beneficial bacteria to the oral cavity.

  • High-fiber and prebiotic foods provide a healthy food source for beneficial bacteria. Good choices to include in the diet are berries, apples, asparagus, artichokes, sunchokes, onions, garlic, leeks, and green bananas. A diet rich in whole plant foods is supportive for oral health.

Visit Your Dentist for Routine Cleanings and Dental Exams

A biological dentist looks beyond the mouth to consider how oral health connects to total body wellness. From this functional, root cause approach, dental visits become about preventative care for more than just your teeth and gums. We’ll consider nutrition, sleep habits, breathing patterns, and more.

Visit us at Rejuvenation Health at least twice yearly for dental cleanings and exams. However, some people may benefit from more regular preventative cleanings or treatments.

Stop Smoking and Using Tobacco Products

Smoking and the use of tobacco products negatively affect oral health, as it diminishes total health and increases the risk for many diseases. Tobacco use links to:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Bone loss around teeth
  • Increased tooth loss
  • Gum inflammation and disease
  • Oral cancer

Stop smoking and using tobacco products to decrease these risks and improve oral health.

Drink More Water and Less Sugary Beverages

Sugary beverages like soda, sweet tea, and sweetened coffees create an acidic environment in the mouth, which wears down tooth enamel. The sugar can feed harmful microorganisms, leading to inflammation and cavities.

Instead of sugary beverages, choose water most of the time. And before you ask, is sparkling water bad for oral health as well? I recommend skipping the sparkling waters too! The acidic pH is detrimental to your enamel and oral microbiome.

Stay Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

Like sugary beverages, alcohol similarly affects teeth and oral health. Heavy drinkers are more likely to experience gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Limiting or eliminating alcohol is good for your overall health.

Eat More Whole Foods

Food is medicine and one of the best tools for preventive dental care. Whole foods are nutrient-rich, and your teeth and gums need a lot of nutrients, like minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, to maintain health. Increasing these foods will help you decrease problematic processed foods in your diet. Processed sugars and starches are lower in nutrients, get stuck in your teeth, and promote harmful bacteria and plaque.

To learn about foods good for teeth, please read Feed Your Smile: The Best Foods for Oral Health.

Rinse Your Mouth with Water After Eating

You don’t need to be perfect to get the benefits of a healthy diet. When choosing a dessert or processed option, rinse your mouth with water. The same goes for after drinking an acidic beverage like soda or beer. You’ll notice better mouth health as you control the pH, remove loose food particles, and inhibit plaque formation.

Consider these dental tips and oral hygiene instructions as you think about strategies to optimize oral hygiene (and, therefore, total body wellness). At-home habit stacking strategies combined with routine dental care from Rejuvenation Health are simple ways to better care for yourself.


  1. Van Gils, L. M., Slot, D. E., Van der Sluijs, E., Hennequin-Hoenderdos, N. L., & Van der Weijden, F. G. (2020). Tongue coating in relationship to gender, plaque, gingivitis and tongue cleaning behaviour in systemically healthy young adults.International journal of dental hygiene18(1), 62–72.
  2. Chaffee, B. W., Lauten, K., Sharma, E., Everard, C. D., Duffy, K., Park-Lee, E., Taylor, E., Tolliver, E., Watkins-Bryant, T., Iafolla, T., Compton, W. M., Kimmel, H. L., Hyland, A., & Silveira, M. L. (2022). Oral Health in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study.Journal of dental research101(9), 1046–1054.

Petrariu, O. A., Barbu, I. C., Niculescu, A. G., Constantin, M., Grigore, G. A., Cristian, R. E., Mihaescu, G., & Vrancianu, C. O. (2024). Role of probiotics in managing various human diseases, from oral pathology to cancer and gastrointestinal diseasesFrontiers in microbiology14, 1296447.

Dr. Gerry Curatola is a renowned biologic restorative dentist with more than 40 years of clinical practice experience.

He studied neuroscience at Colgate University and attended dental school at the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry where he now serves as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care.