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How To Get Your Teeth Clean Before The Dentist

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You might be diligent as far as your oral hygiene goes, but even the most frequent flosser forgets every now and again. You may not even think about the quality of your dental hygiene until it comes time for your scheduled dental visit. So, whether you're a habitual brusher or you've been known to skip a session, put your best smile forward and learn how to get your teeth clean before the dentist to ensure the best checkup possible. Use these techniques and your dentist and dental hygienist are sure to be impressed.

Proper Brushing

Brushing your teeth is one thing, but brushing them properly gives you completely different results and clean teeth for your checkup. A quick once-over with your toothbrush won't cut it, so schedule a little extra time to give your smile the attention it deserves. Here are the steps for proper toothbrushing:

  1. Squeeze a strip of toothpaste onto a soft-bristled brush. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes, which can be too abrasive and damage tooth enamel.
  2. Start with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, beginning at your gumline. Gently brush your gums back and forth before moving up the surface of your teeth.
  3. Focus first on the outside surfaces of your teeth, and then make sure to clean the insides, as well.
  4. Reach back and brush all sides of each of your molars, making sure to brush all the way to the back of your mouth.
  5. Don't forget to brush the biting surfaces of all teeth to clean the pits and crevices.
  6. Gently brush your tongue to remove lingering bacteria, film, or debris for fresher breath and a cleaner mouth.


Along with proper twice-daily brushing, making flossing at least once a day a priority is important. Brushing is great but can leave food particles, and plaque stuck in the small spaces between teeth. To impress your dentist, give your teeth an excellent flossing before your appointment. Here are some steps for proper flossing technique:

  1. Stretch a piece of floss between two fingers and wind the floss around your pointer fingers for a secure hold.
  2. Start between your back two bottom teeth, gently slide the floss down between each space and then move it upward to remove the floss and debris.
  3. Continue the process and work toward the front of your mouth and around to the other side.
  4. Switch to your top teeth until every space between your teeth has been properly cleaned.
  5. Make sure you are using a new section of the floss each time you go between two teeth, so you don't transfer debris from space to space.


Finally, put the finishing touch on your deep cleaning by swishing with a mouthwash to rinse and disinfect your mouth. It'll remove any lingering bacteria and ensure that you have fresh breath for your checkup. Pour a small amount in a small cup and swish it forcefully between your teeth and around your mouth for 30-60 seconds. Spit out the mouthwash, and you're ready for your dental closeup.

Your dental hygienist may also ask you to do a pre-procedural rinse before your cleaning. This step can significantly reduce the number of microorganisms (bacteria) that are introduced during professional dental cleanings or tooth restorations. A simple 30-to-60-second rinse can reduce contamination on dental equipment, dental personnel, and surfaces in the operatory.

Visiting the dentist should be anything but nerve-racking, but if your oral hygiene has been less than exemplary, you might be feeling a little nervous. By knowing how to get your teeth clean before the dentist, you can be sure that you'll have the best appointment possible. A deep clean is the key to a smooth dental appointment and the perfect way to renew your commitment to good oral hygiene.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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