Keeping Your Mouth In Shape

Dr. Reza Written by Dr. Reza Khazaie

Oral health fitness
Keeping Your Mouth In Shape - Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS.

Just as you need to consistently go to the gym to keep your body in shape, it is important to regularly practice and prioritize good oral health and hygiene. Achieving a toned physique doesn’t happen overnight with a few gym sessions or quick treadmill sessions. Similarly, maintaining a healthy and clean mouth requires dedication and consistent effort.

Instead, it takes sticking to a routine. In the same way, healthy, disease-free teeth and gums don’t come by occasionally brushing when you feel like it. It takes a sustained effort over a long period. Like a fit body, healthy teeth and gums require an investment in time, effort, and sometimes some money.

Here’s how.

1. Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
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Brushing your teeth is a foundational routine that everyone and anyone that is serious about their oral health fitness should do. Brush your teeth twice per day with a soft brush head and using fluoridated toothpaste.

Remember, like lifting too much weight at the gym and injuring yourself; it is possible to brush too much or too hard. Avoid damaging your gums by brushing gently.


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2. Floss at least once per day for 60 seconds with the Philips Sonicare AirFloss.
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Flossing is like squatting for workouts – it’s essential, but not enough people do it, and when done with the wrong technique or incorrect form, injuries are often the result.

According to an ADA survey, only about 40 percent of Americans floss every day. This is a major problem since flossing is one of the only effective ways to remove plaque from in-between teeth.

I recommend flossing at least once per day for 2 minutes using traditional floss or one minute with the Philips Sonicare AirFloss system. Technology now makes flossing easier. I recommend the Philips Sonicare AirFloss.

Here are some of the benefits of using the AirFloss:

  • Removes up to 99.9% of plaque – Air and water bursts clean between tight teeth spaces that string floss struggles to penetrate fully.
  • Takes just 60 seconds – The quick bursts make flossing all teeth faster and easier than tedious string wrapping.
  • Is gentle on gums – AirFloss pulses avoid tearing gums like aggressive string flossing motions. Helps inflammation.
  • Easy for braces – The water jet reaches food debris bands can’t get to. No awkward maneuvering.
  • Effective around implants and bridgework – Gets into small gaps between false teeth others miss.
  • Helps gum disease – Removing plaque, the Sonicare blast reduces bacteria buildup lowering gum infection chances.
  • Fresh breath – Dislodging trapped debris between teeth eliminates a major bad breath offender.


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3. Visit your dentist regularly.
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Visit your dentist at least once every six months to a year for a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning.

More importantly, routine visits will allow your dentist to examine your mouth and catch any potential issues early. Like personal trainers at the gym, a dentist and quality hygienist will provide you with useful advice on proper oral health fitness techniques.

Here are some of the key benefits of visiting your dentist on a regular basis:

  • Early detection of cavities and tooth decay – Small problems are fixed before they become major, painful issues requiring root canals or extraction.
  • Lower chance of gum diseaseTeeth cleanings control plaque helping prevent inflammation/infections leading to tissue and bone damage.
  • Removal of built-up stains and tartar – Cleans away yellowing film for a whiter brighter smile between visits.
  • Finding oral cancer early – Your dentist carefully examines all soft tissues for early-stage symptoms for better outcomes.
  • Analysis of risk factors – Review of habits like teeth grinding and diet to help prevent larger problems.
  • Better long-term health – Issues in the mouth are linked to certain respiratory diseases, heart problems, diabetes complications, and stroke risks.
  • Avoiding tooth loss over time – Maintenance preserves your teeth for decades vs quicker deterioration needing bridges, dental implants, etc.
4. Use mouthwash regularly.
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Mouthwash is a proven and effective way to temporarily eliminate bacteria from the oral cavity. It’s also easy to use and can reach areas of the mouth that may be difficult to reach with a toothbrush or piece of floss.

However, mouthwash should not be relied upon exclusively for proper oral fitness. It is more of a complementary exercise designed to supplement your core routines.

I recommend using mouthwash a minimum of 3 times per week.

Here are some of the key benefits of using mouthwash:

  • Freshens breath
  • Prevents gum disease
  • Fights cavities
  • Improves your oral hygiene
  • Contributes to treating gum ailments
  • Offers protective reinforcement that keeps your mouth cleaner between dental visits
  • Enhances your oral care routine
5. Clean, scrape, and massage your gums.
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For those who have mastered the basics of a healthy oral fitness routine, consider adding these more advanced oral health techniques to your oral health workouts:

  1. Try an interdental brush (like the example shown above)
  2. Scrape your tongue
  3. Massage your gums

Like a good massage for your muscles after an intense workout, gently massaging your gums with your fingertips also has health benefits as well. A thorough gum massage promotes the flow of blood around the gums and helps stimulate them.

5. Drink plenty of water.
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It is critical to oral health, as it is for exercise, to stay hydrated. Drinking water rinses your teeth of food debris and plaque. Furthermore, keeping your mouth moist and your body hydrated keeps destructive dry mouth, or xerostomia, at bay.

I recommend carrying a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and sip on it often.

6. Eat healthy.
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When it comes to a fit body, exercise is only half the battle. The other half is having the discipline and strength of mind to maintain a healthy diet. This is true for oral health fitness as well. What you eat plays a significant role in dictating the health of your teeth. Not only does food provide nutrition, but it also comes in direct contact with your teeth.

For a diet that complements your oral health fitness routine, try to avoid sugar at all costs. Sugar (Tasty Candy That’s Good for Your Teeth — No Kidding) fuels the growth and proliferation of destructive bacteria.

Also, be wary of highly acidic food and drinks, such as citrus juices, which can leach minerals out of your dental enamel in a process known as acid erosion.

7. Rinse and repeat.
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Do these basic oral fitness practices, and you will see excellent results in your health and your outlook on life.