The Lazy Person’s Guide to Great Teeth

If you follow these lazy-person-approved tips, you'll keep your teeth beautiful, healthy, and pain-free for life...all with minimal effort.

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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B

It can be difficult to find the time for a dental care routine every day. If it hasn’t already, it will catch up to you—that’s why so many people are looking for quick fixes when it comes to their teeth. But if you follow these lazy-person-approved tips, you’ll keep your teeth beautiful, healthy, and pain-free for life…all with minimal effort.

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If you’re too lazy to floss…

Get a flossing stick, even if you hate flossing. A flossing stick lets you floss one-handed, without a mirror, and without a sink. Plus, a flossing stick avoids all the trickiness and grossness of regular floss.

The 2 Different Kinds of Flossing Sticks:

The Reach Flosser ($4)  | This one I like because it has a long handle, which is easier to maneuver.

Flossing sticks ($4) | The ultimate for convenience because you can just throw them away when you’re done. Stash a bag in your backpack, laptop bag, gym bag, and the car.

If you’re too tired to brush before bed…

Keep a toothbrush in your nightstand. While lying in bed, you can dry brush—no toothpaste, sink, or standing required. It’s a myth that toothpaste makes your teeth healthier—all it does is serve as a polishing agent to help remove the pellicle (the film that builds up on your teeth during the day). If you dry brush, you’ll still be able to have a healthy mouth!

How to Keep Your Toothbrush from Stinking:

Pop a Dr. Tung’s snap-on sanitizer ($8) on the toothbrush head, which will keep the bristles clean and smelling so good that you won’t miss the toothpaste. My favorite flavor is the fresh mint aroma.

If your teeth stain easily…

If you love coffee, tea, berries, tomato sauce, or wine, you’re probably well aware of the staining these foods cause.

If you swish with water at the same time that you consume staining foods, you lessen the likelihood of staining. Teeth typically stain when the pellicle is beginning to dry out and a glass of water keeps things well-diluted.

Next time you reach for a staining food or drink…

  • Ask for water with your coffee and do as the Europeans do—drink Pellegrino with your wine!
  • Remove stains at home with an electric toothbrush. I recommend any model of the Oral-B Braun as the best for removing stains (series 1000, 30005000, or 7000) because the oscillatory motion is better than vibration for removing stains.

If you’re in a rush in the morning…

Brushing too hard does serious damage and, chances are, you’re brushing too hard – especially if you’re in a rush.

Get a Radius toothbrush. These are known for their massive toothbrush heads. That larger surface area will spread out the pressure applied when you brush and save your enamel from being worn away.

If you never remember to replace your toothbrush head…

Toothbrush bristles become too sharp to brush with after six weeks to three months of use. Worn down bristles cause gum recession and wear away enamel—but it’s all too easy to forget when it’s time to replace them. Set an alarm on your phone or schedule a recurring delivery with Amazon so you never have to remember—when it shows up in the mail, it’s time to change!

If you can never remember to floss…

I still keep a blank sticky note on the door of my study so I’m reminded to floss as I’m walking into the bathroom every morning. You can even floss in the car! If you put a sticky note on the mirror in the bathroom or someplace else where you want to be reminded to floss, it’ll be your cue. Know your routine and place your sticky note strategically.

If you can’t bring yourself to floss…

Just floss one tooth. Seriously. It’s so doable because it’s hard to make excuses not to do it. You’ll be surprised to find that after a few weeks or months, you’ll get hooked by that “just flossed” feeling and you’ll be flossing all your teeth because you actually want to.

Don’t try harder to be more disciplined, which is a recipe for failure. The key is tricking yourself into getting addicted to that minty, tingly “just flossed” feeling. Floss one tooth a day, and that will happen.

If your teeth cleanings hurt a lot…

The best (and laziest) thing you can do for beautiful teeth is have someone else do the work for you. Go for more frequent teeth cleanings if you know you’re being lazy about your brushing and flossing.

A teeth cleaning costs less than getting a haircut every 5 weeks and takes about the same amount of time. Also, having ibuprofen on board at least one hour before the cleaning helps if you find teeth cleanings painful.

Dr. Mark Burhenne

Learn More: 5 Essential Habits for Keeping Your Teeth Clean and Healthy