ODHA Website > Your Oral Health > Personal Oral Care Program

Creating a personal oral care program
Dental hygiene checkups

Visiting your dental hygienist on a regular basis is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain or improve your oral health.

Between Visits

It is important to make your personal oral hygiene program – developed by you and your dental hygienist together – a daily habit between office visits to control, stop or reverse gum disease. Less than five minutes, twice a day, is all it takes to maintain or improve oral hygiene. It’s never too late – or too early – to develop good habits.
Although your specific oral care program will vary according to a number of factors, here are some general guidelines for maintaining good oral health at any age:

Infant Care:

  • Give infants plain water instead of milk or sweet juices at naptime and bedtime (especially bedtime!)
  • Gently clean newly erupted teeth, gums and tongue with a gauze or clean washcloth


  • Familiarize children with oral cleaning habits
  • A small pea-sized amount of toothpaste is more than adequate (or no toothpaste at all) for a child
  • Allow your child to try brushing his or her own teeth but have an adult take a turn afterwards
  • The most effective position for a caregiver to brush a child’s teeth is to have the caregiver sit on a couch with the child’s head on their lap to allow stability and access
  • First visits to the dental hygienist are recommended at about age 1
  • Read more about Oral Care for Children

Teenagers and Adults:

  • A thorough cleaning twice a day is sufficient with rinsing with water throughout the day
  • Consult with your dental hygienist to obtain a personalized oral care program


  • Seniors can still get cavities, especially around the roots of the teeth
  • Seniors can continue to have problems related to gum disease
  • Oral diseases may be complicated by various medical conditions and medications
  • Seniors should continue to brush and floss regularly
  • Seniors with cognitive or severe physical disabilities may require help from a caregiver – ask for advice from your dental hygienist if this becomes a concern
  • Even if you wear dentures, it is still important to clean your mouth and get regular checkups to prevent and detect oral health problems
  • Read more about Oral Care for Seniors