Got my teeth deep root cleaned from having those little pockets that my forner dentist didn't deal with.
Just changing a dentist when I sensed something was wrong and deciding to go to one who sounded very conscientious and up to date was a major good achievement.
I actually took the good advice of the hygienist (first time I'd ever gotten this advice) and stopped using alcohol based mouthwashes and started using correctly designed ones, like Crest prohealth.
I also didn't know why one would scrape one's tongue - seemed weird - but now I know - it removes a layer of bacteria (the white stuff has to be all scraped off) that contributes to decay, but also increases the chances of death by cancer - geez!
Also, flossing makes a difference in the same way, as that stuff doesn't brush off at all. But there was a problem - I just couldn't seem to handle that floss, so I devised a different system. I use those funny little toothpicks with "burrs" on the end and some of the ones you push between your teeth and even one that vibrates.
I also every night use the Waterpik water blaster designed for teeth (the other ones on the market, so far, seem to be too weak) and that blasts stuff out very well, though I understand that I have to "scrape" off the very tough and resilient stuff that bacteria is caught up in.
My first check up after this, my gums no longer have pockets, the flossing worked and there was no tartar at all.
Being responsible really isn't so hard - and it does contribute to confidence in oneself and in the ability to handle all of life...