Patient volumes are hitting only 74 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to the American Dental Association. With many people delaying dentist office visits, at-home oral care routines are more important than ever.

Take your at-home dental hygiene routine to a new level of clean with these tips from “America’s dentist,” Dr. Bill Dorfman:

• Use the best tools. An electric toothbrush has the power needed for optimal brushing results and has been proven to be far more effective than a manual toothbrush. One new game-changing option, the Oral-B iO, has reimagined the electric toothbrush. The result of six years of dedicated research with dental professionals, its advanced features, like AI recognition and micro-vibrating bristles, help ensure you reach all areas of your mouth to provide a deeper cleaning of teeth and gums, as proven in clinical tests.

“I always recommend Oral-B because not only do they make top-of-the-line products, they’re actively making at-home oral care more accessible through their $1 million commitment to the Dental Lifeline Network, a non-profit that provides access to life-changing dental care to those in need,” says Dr. Dorfman.

In fact, a new initiative is bringing this brush, which offers a professional-clean feeling with every use, to those who need it most. Oral-B is partnering with 50 dental professionals nationwide to surprise 200 deserving patients with an Oral-B iO power toothbrush.

• Brush at least two times daily. Chasing away morning breath makes it easy for most people to remember to brush in the morning, but a nighttime brushing habit is equally as important. It dislodges food debris accumulated throughout the day and reduces bacteria buildup overnight. It’s also a good idea to brush during the day if you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages, which can be harmful to enamel.

• Be thorough, yet gentle. The outer surfaces of your teeth may be most visible when you flash a grin, but the inside and top surfaces need attention, too. While you focus on reaching every nook and cranny, avoid brushing too hard. Excess pressure can cause serious damage to your mouth and lead to gum recession. To ensure an all-around clean, brush for two full minutes, with an appropriate amount of pressure, methodically focusing on different regions.

• Combat contamination. Store your brush away from others so you don’t share bacteria. Prevent mold and bacteria growth by air drying between uses. Inspect bristles for breakdown, which is a signal your brush is no longer effectively cleaning and you need a replacement head or new brush.

• Go beyond brushing. On a daily basis, gently floss between each tooth individually and rub against each tooth at the gum line to loosen plaque and debris. Pay attention to signs you need to visit the dentist. Schedule a visit if you notice redness or tenderness in your gums, experience pain or sensitivity to temperature changes or have other unusual symptoms causing discomfort.

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At a time when health is top of mind, have the right knowledge and tools to optimally maintain your dental hygiene routine.