ADHA Daily 4

By Carolyn Hardin

In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, the American Dental Hygiene Association and the Dental Team at Mountain Family Health Centers remind you to practice the Daily 4 to ensure you maintain your oral health. The Daily 4 are:

BRUSH twice per day

FLOSS daily

RINSE with mouthwash

CHEW sugar-free gum

How to Practice the Daily 4


Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively.

Brush at least twice per day, preferably after every meal.

Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums.

Remember to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or after an illness.

Use this technique for proper brushing:

  1. Gently brush outer surface of 2-3 teeth with a back and forth, small circular motion
  2. Move to next group of 2-3 teeth and repeat
  3. Repeat on inner surfaces of teeth, maintaining contact with tooth surfaces and gum line
  4. Tilt brush vertically behind front teeth (top then bottom) and make several up and down strokes to brush each individual tooth
  5. Place brush against biting surface and gently brush back and forth. Brush tongue from back to front



Flossing is an essential part of the Daily 4 because it removes bacterial plaque between teeth and at the gum line.

Floss at least once per day.

If you find flossing awkward or difficult, ask your dental hygienist about dental floss holders or other interdental cleaning devices.

Use this technique for proper flossing:

  1. Wind 18” of floss around the middle fingers. Pinch the floss between the thumbs and index fingers, leaving one to two inches in between
  2. Thoroughly clean each tooth with a clean section of floss
  3. Gently guide the floss between the teeth, hugging the side of the tooth surface in a “C” shape to make sure the entire interdental space is cleaned
  4. Floss should not be “snapped” into the gums
  5. Slide the floss up and down against tooth surface and under gum line



Your teeth only account for less than half the surface area of your mouth. To reduce the amount of bacteria in the rest of your mouth, use an antimicrobial mouthwash to rinse twice a day.

Rinse after brushing at least twice daily.

Your dental hygienist can help select the best type of oral rinse for your individual needs.

Be sure to follow any manufacturer’s instructions on how long to wait after rinsing before eating or drinking.

Use this technique for proper flossing:

  1. Pour 20 ml of mouthwash into a cup
  2. Swish mouthwash thoroughly for a full 30 seconds
  3. Gargle intermittently
  4. Spit mouthwash into sink


Try chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals, or to help keep your teeth clean when you are on the go.

Here’s what chewing sugar-free gum does for your mouth:

  1. Stimulates saliva flow
  2. Neutralizes plaque acid
  3. Maintains tooth mineralization
  4. Increases rate of food debris clearance
  5. Maintains proper pH