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Posted on: October 7, 2022
October Is National Dental Hygiene Month
When we flip our calendars from September to October, we start anticipating the holiday season and all its treats, starting with Halloween and all the candy involved. Although your dentist may dread the thought of all the sugar and carbs and their impact on your teeth, dental hygiene is probably the furthest thing from your mind during October.
Interestingly, October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and it’s dedicated to helping us maintain the best oral hygiene possible. As a result, dental offices throughout the country are focusing on ways to keep your dental health at its best as the holidays approach with their abundance of candy and treats.
Why Is My Dental Health So Important?
Your good physical health and your good dental health are inextricably intertwined so that you can’t have one without the other. Research has established a direct correlation between the two. It has shown that poor dental health is linked to serious physical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and numerous other debilitating diseases. Not only do poor oral hygiene habits contribute to poor physical health, but they ensure the onset of issues such as cavities, abscessed teeth, periodontal disease, and more.
Conversely, those with good oral health have a much lower incidence of these diseases. So, if you want the best physical health, then you need to have good oral health, which starts by maintaining good oral hygiene throughout the day. If you have any questions about maintaining good oral health, then call our Indiana office, and we can help you.
How Can My Dentist Improve My Oral Health?
Your dentist has years or decades of experience and training in the field of oral health. They can suggest tips that are tailored to your unique needs and can provide you with the best oral hygiene regimen possible. Your oral hygiene is linked to your physical health but affects your mental outlook as well. For example, when you have a mouth full of beautiful teeth, you’re more likely to smile and have a more positive outlook than if you don’t want to smile because of your misaligned, misshapen, or gapped teeth.
How Do I Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?
The American Dental Association recommends the following minimum steps for maintaining good oral health:
- Brush and floss at least twice daily. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s the appropriate size for your mouth. It doesn’t matter whether you use a floss pick, traditional floss, or a flosser as long as you floss.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash at least daily. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer regular or alcohol-free mouthwash as long as you use it at least once daily.
- Chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after you eat, particularly if you aren’t able to brush and floss. Sugar-free gum has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel, promote saliva flow, and minimize the number of food particles and bacteria in your mouth.
- Get a regular dental exam and teeth cleaning. Once annually is the minimum. Twice annually is better.
Are There Techniques to Making Brushing More Effective?
The following techniques may make your brushing more effective:
- Mentally section your mouth into four areas: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. The order doesn’t matter. Just be sure to brush each section for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Maintain your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle while you brush.
- Use slow, back-and-forth strokes with gentle pressure.
- Brush the outer surfaces first and start with your upper teeth.
- Hold your toothbrush vertically while brushing your bottom teeth and the inner surfaces of your teeth.
- Brush your tongue.
- Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you’ve been sick.
It’s more important to brush slowly and be thorough than to rush and miss areas. The entire brushing routine should take at least two full minutes.
The ADA recommends that all your dental products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance so that you know you’re using a quality product. You should also ensure that your toothbrush has soft bristles and is the appropriate size for your mouth. Some adults may need smaller toothbrushes, and some younger people may need larger ones, so buy the size that’s correct for your mouth rather than one that the package says is correct.
Whether you prefer a manual toothbrush or an electric one doesn’t matter. Both are equally effective as long as you use them correctly.
Flossing should be an integral component of your good oral hygiene routine, and the ADA recommends that you floss at least once daily. Twice daily is better; one of those times should be just before bedtime. Make sure that you don’t eat anything after your nighttime brushing and flossing routine. Flossing removes food particles and bacteria that are inaccessible to your toothbrush, so it helps prevent gum disease and decay.
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can remove residual bacteria that your other oral hygiene methods missed. It also provides you with the freshest breath possible. If antibacterial mouthwash isn’t available, then rinsing with plain water can remove a substantial number of food particles and bacteria.
The ADA established that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack can strengthen your tooth enamel, promote saliva flow, and remove food particles and bacteria that remain after eating. Be sure it’s sugar-free gum, however.
Need to Schedule a Dental Appointment in Indiana?
If you need to schedule your annual or semi-annual exam and cleaning, if you want to schedule an oral cancer exam, or if you need any other dental procedure, then call Wadas Dental at , and we can help you. The incidence of oral cancer is rising rapidly, and, unfortunately, if you have it, you won’t know until it has spread. For that reason, we urge our patients who are 18 and older to get screened for oral cancer during their annual exam. The screening is painless and non-invasive. Your dentist will screen you during your exam.
If you need a dental exam or have any questions about your oral hygiene routine, we would love to help you.
Call us today. You’ll be glad you did.