wooden toothbrush on a ceramic cup

My Dental Journey

I’ve been told many times that my smile is one of my best assets. I was even nominated for the best smile in high school. Your smile can say a lot about you, which is why my dental hygiene is so important to me. It’s also why I’m sharing my dental journey, smile essentials, and dental hygiene routine today.

My Dental Journey

My smile wasn’t always my best asset. When I was young, I loved drinking apple juice more than I loved milk. So needless to say, the sugars and acid wreaked havoc on my teeth. I had silver caps put on my baby teeth. I usually joke that I had a grill before grills were a trend. I smiled with closed lips in majority of my childhood photos, unable to show my teeth until the 3rd grade.

In the 6th grade, I got neck gear, followed by braces that I didn’t get off until my Freshman year of high school. I wore my retainers for a few years but ultimately stopped wearing them right before college. Luckily, I’ve had minimal teeth shifting. It’s been a long dental journey, which is probably also why I prefer to always smile showing my teeth in photos.

My Smile Essentials

Like the average person, I use a personal combination of floss, mouthwash, toothpaste, as well as both standard and electric toothbrushes to get my picture-perfect smile.


I LOVE MY COCOFLOSS subscription! I get three spools of COCOFLOSS delivered every six months. Each spool lasts about 2 months, and I purchase one-off refills as needed. COCOFLOSS products are made from recycled plastic collected from landfills. I’m a big advocate of sustainability and doing everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint.

Mouthwash: ACT Restoring Mouthwash

I haven’t had any cavities for many years now. To help ensure it stays that way, I use ACT Restoring Mouthwash to remineralize and protect my teeth with fluoride in between meals.

Toothpaste: Colgate and Parodontax

I used Colgate Total SF Whitening toothpaste for many years, but in recent years, I now prioritize gum health and cavity prevention over whitening. That said, I found my holy grail toothpaste combination about a year ago. Most days I use Colgate Cavity Prevention when brushing my teeth. And once a week, I use Parodontax Complete Protection Pure Fresh Mint for healthy gums.

Toothbrush: Oral-B Electric Toothbrush and COCOFLOSS Cocobrush

My dentist recommended an electric toothbrush years ago, so I’ve been using an Oral-B Electric toothbrush ever since. She emphasized getting one with a round brush head, not applying too much pressure, and simply allowing the toothbrush to do the majority of the work for me. I also pack a COCOFLOSS cocobrush to use when I’m traveling or throw it in my purse, just in case.

Activated Charcoal: Molr C+C Whitening Factory

As mentioned in my Self-Care Sunday blog post, I use an activated charcoal powder to whiten my teeth. I currently use Molr C+C Whitening Factory. While teeth whitening isn’t a priority, I like to use it to ensure my smile continues to shine.

My Dental Hygiene Routine

Morning Brushing

After walking & feeding my pug, Pogi, I brush my teeth for 2 minutes. Even if it’s only been 6 – 8 hours since the last time I brushed my teeth and I’m intermittent fasting, I always brush my teeth in the morning. Even if you don’t eat right away, bacterial plaque can still start to build up between your teeth and along your gum line.

After Lunch Mouth Wash

After eating, I use my ACT Restoring Mouthwash. If you didn’t know, acidic foods can soften and weaken your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating can cause enamel decay. To bring my mouth’s pH from acidic back to basic, I always use mouthwash. I then wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking again to allow the fluoride in my mouthwash to restore my enamel and create a fluoride barrier to prevent plaque or tartar buildup.

Evening Brushing and Flossing

Before bed, I always floss and brush my teeth. I floss BEFORE I brush my teeth by the way. In the past, when I brushed my teeth before flossing, I’d get lazy and choose to not floss at all. By flossing first, I ensure to get under my gums and remove any food particles before brushing. I use about an arm’s length of floss then pass between each tooth about 5+ times. Afterward, I brush my teeth for two minutes and spit out any excess toothpaste. Please note that I don’t rinse my mouth with mouthwash or even water after brushing. Standard toothpaste has 1000 to 1500 ppm of fluoride, so you want to leave fluoride on your teeth. My ACT mouth wash only has 920 ppm of fluoride, so it makes no sense to rinse out a higher concentration of fluoride for a lower one.


If you take anything away from today’s blog post, it should be these four things:

  • 2 x 2: Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
  • Use mouthwash after eating to prevent enamel decay
  • Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth
  • Floss every day

I hope my dental journey, smile essentials, and dental hygiene routine help you optimize your own. My dentist once told me that the most important thing when it comes to my dental health is ensuring that I keep my real teeth for as long as I can. LOL While most people obsess over having straight, white teeth, don’t forget that cavity prevention and gum health are even more important when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.

XO Denise

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