**Before we get started, I want to be clear that I am not recommending that you never see your dentist for cleaning visits. There are some areas of your mouth that you can’t clean yourself and you also need the dentist to check for cavities, infections, and oral cancer. Please use this guide as a way to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible in conjunction with proper dental care. **
To clean your own teeth, you’re going to need a couple of special instruments that you can buy at the drugstore or online.
This is an example of one particular kit that I like. You can click on the image to go to Amazon and buy it. The instruments are very similar to the ones a dentist or dental hygienist would use. The ones at the drugstore tend to be quite a bit cheaper and don’t work as well. I recommend spending the couple of extra dollars to get a decent kit.
I also recommend that you get an electric toothbrush with a round head. You can check out my recommendations on electric toothbrushes here. Electric toothbrushes that rotate and oscillate work very similarly to the polishing equipment at the dental office.
The last thing you’re going to want to get is known as disclosing solution. This can come in a liquid or as tablets. Click on the link to go to Amazon and see one product that works well. There are also some mouthwashes that do the same thing.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Once you’ve got everything ready, you’re ready to clean your teeth. The first thing you want to do is use the disclosing tablets or liquid. Be careful with this stuff as it will stain just about anything in addition to the dental plaque on your teeth. Your teeth should look something like this. Nice right? All that red stuff is plaque and build-up on your teeth.
Next take your toothbrush and toothpaste clean every single surface until you’ve removed as much of the red / purple color as possible. This may take a little more time than you expect. Dental plaque is much harder to remove than it looks.
Now anything that is left after spending some serious time with your toothbrush is likely a type of hard build-up on your teeth known as calculus or tartar. This is what your dental hygienist spends all that time scraping off. This is where the dental instruments come in. Please sterilize the instruments before using them. You can do this by dipping them in isopropyl alcohol and letting them dry completely or lighting the alcohol on fire (my favorite method).
There are several areas where most people tend to build up the most tartar. The heaviest area is on the back of your lower front teeth and around your top molars. Most people also tend to build up a smaller amount in between their teeth and right along the gumline. I’ve circled some of these common areas in red.
Take the tip of the instrument and scrape it along the surface of your tooth removing this hard material. When you’ve got it cleaned off, the dental scaler should slide smoothly along your teeth surfaces. You’re going to want to check all these areas with the dental scaler as best as you can. The hardest place for you to get to is going to be in between your teeth. You’ll have to do this mostly by feel as you won’t really be able to see what you’re doing. Place the tip of the scaler alongside the tooth, in between them, and scrape upwards. Never scrape down as this can damage your gums.
Avoid using the scaling instruments on your teeth too often. Once every 2-3 months is the most you should do. Once all the hard material is cleaned off your teeth you should be able to keep everything very clean with good brushing and flossing alone.
Next time you go to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned, it should be a much easier experience!