Have you ever been in the middle of brushing and flossing and wondered if everyone around the world follows the same dental-care habits as those of Americans? While English-speaking countries tend to have similar habits, not every culture approaches oral care the same way Americans do. Learning from other cultures is a great idea, because you can learn a lot from their alternative approaches to oral care and use this knowledge to improve your oral hygiene habits. 


In China, it is common for dentists to only inspect teeth for cavities during visits, yet not perform the deep-cleaning treatments that are so common in other countries. When it comes to daily oral care, many people in China opt to clean their teeth with green tea instead of a toothbrush and toothpaste. The Chinese green tea method is performed by preparing a cup of traditional green tea and not removing the tea leaves. They drink the tea, then chew the leaves left in the cup and spit them out. Bits of green tea are then removed by wiping teeth with a cloth.

What can you learn from this culture? Don't stop letting the dentist perform preventative care on your teeth, and don't start chewing green tea instead of brushing. Instead, use this as a reminder to drink green tea to reap its oral health benefits. It contains potent antioxidants and has inflammatory benefits that can be great for improving gum health.


People in France do brush their teeth, and the first amalgam dental filling was actually created and first used to fill cavities in France in 1826. There were other filling materials used before the French invented the amalgam filling, but none held up or proved to be as effective as the amalgam.

One surprising fact about the French is that they are not too keen on flossing. Some dentists even discourage flossing, because they believe it can harm gums.

What can you learn from this culture? You can thank the French for the invention of a useful modern dental filling, but don't stop flossing. It may be discouraged in France because overzealous flossing can cause gums to bleed. Floss daily, but make sure to do it gently and don't shove the floss into your gums.


Some people who live on the continent of Africa actually clean their teeth all day long. How? They chew on twigs, and they often keep a twig with them to chew off and on throughout the entire day. Twig types vary, and they often choose twigs from specific trees to combat specific dental concerns they are having.

Some twigs split into small strands of pulp when they are saturated with saliva, and the strands are then used as natural dental floss. Many varieties of twigs also have natural antibacterial properties that can help prevent cavities.

What can you learn from this culture? While you likely don't want to chew on a stick all day, you can take a cue from the stick-chewers to keep your oral health a top priority. Chewing all day shows they really care about their teeth.


With India being the home of Ayurvedic medicine, it may come as no surprise that they have many Ayurvedic remedies for tooth concerns. You may have heard of one called oil-pulling, which is the practice of swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes to clean your teeth and gums.

Ayurvedic practitioners also believe in chewing sticks for dental health, but they specifically choose neem sticks to combat oral bacteria or licorice to soothe inflamed gums.

What can you learn from this culture? Many Indian Ayurvedic herbs can be good for your teeth, and there are toothpastes with added neem or licorice extracts. Just be sure to choose a paste that also contains fluoride, and you may see a benefit from the added antibacterial or anti-inflammatory action.

Just like every culture has varying cuisines and different daily habits, not everyone in the world follows the exact same dental hygiene practices that people in the US and Canada do. Learn from their habits not by replicating them, but by using the reasoning behind their habits to improve how you care for your teeth. Contact a dentist for more information about dental hygiene or learn more here.