When it comes to caring for your teeth, results are more important than technique.

There are many ways to clean your mouth, but only one objective: to remove all the bacteria without damaging your teeth or gums. You can brush, floss, use a Waterpik or do all of the above three or four times a day, but if you’re leaving bacteria on your teeth, you’re wasting your time.

If I look in someone’s mouth and don’t see any bacteria, and they tell me they have an old sock they wrap around their finger and rub over their teeth, I’ll tell them not to lose the sock. That’s how important technique is to me.

So, how do you know if you’re doing a good job? I strongly recommend using disclosing solution or disclosing tablets, which are inexpensive and available online. It’s a dye that marks the bacteria on your teeth. Once you’re done cleaning your teeth, the disclosing solution will allow you to grade yourself. You’ll see where you’re missing and can go back and get those spots.

Here are a few quick tips on how to get the best results:

Brushing: I use an electric toothbrush that has a little buzzer that goes off every 30 seconds, so I can make sure I’m spending enough time on each area of the mouth. And I use two hands so I have better control over it.

Flossing can be effective, especially for larger pieces of food, but it’s important that you rinse your mouth thoroughly. If you don’t rinse well, you might get rid of as little as 25 percent of the bacteria you dislodged.

Directed water irrigation: Commonly known as a Waterpik, this can get rid of 90 percent of the bacteria in your mouth. I use one called the ShowerBreeze, which attaches to the showerhead.

Frequency: Believe it or not, once a day is enough IF YOU DO IT RIGHT! I’ve got patients who tell me they brush four or five times a day and they’ve got a big wall of tartar built up because they’re missing the same spot over and over again. I’d rather you spend the time doing it right one time a day than do it wrong three times.

In this week’s episode of the “Your Filthy Mouth” podcast, we go into more detail about how to remove bacteria from your teeth and gums.

I also urge you to explore this website. You can listen to past episodes, read previous blog posts, watch videos and check out dozens of links to information about how what happens in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. This is a serious topic, but we always try to keep things fun and entertaining. Be sure to drop us a line and let us know what you think.

Until next week …

Charles “Dr. Chuck” Reinertsen, DMD, has been practicing dentistry in Central Florida since 1979 and is author of the book, “The Power of a Really Great Smile.” His passion is spreading the word about how the health of your mouth is intrinsically linked to the rest of your body. Learn more at www.yourfilthymouth.com.