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Posted on: October 2, 2022
It’s October Again! Time to Celebrate Another Dental Hygiene Month
Thanks to the American Dental Hygienists Association and the Wrigley Jr. Company, every October since 2009 is declared National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month. That means 31 days devoted to education and awareness about what dental hygiene means, how to practice it, and why it’s important.
Dental hygiene is of critical importance to not just your dental health but your general health overall. By keeping your mouth healthy and your teeth and gums strong, you prevent mouth problems from becoming health problems affecting your heart, lungs, nervous system, immune system and, of course, your digestive system, among others.
Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month with us at Diamond Spring Dental Associates. Call today to set up an appointment with a dental hygienist in Denville and take a major step toward keeping your smile healthy for life.
More than simply brushing your teeth, dental hygiene is a collection of regular behaviors – some daily, others semi-annually or annually – that help to maintain clean, healthy, and strong teeth, gums, and mouth. Make these behaviors habits, and you, in partnership with your dentist and dental hygienist, can give yourself the best chances of keeping your teeth sparkling white, your gums strong, your mouth healthy, and your smile lovely for life.
Every day, bacteria, food particles and plaque settle on your teeth, as well as on your gums, tongue, the roof of your mouth and the rest of your mouth. If you don’t remove these harmful elements as they settle there, they will build up over time until they form plaque and tartar. These substances attack the teeth and gums and cause tooth decay, gum disease, tooth pain, and a host of other dental problems. Even worse, as these dental problems progress untreated, they can cause other health problems elsewhere in your body. Untreated dental problems have even been proven to lead to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and stroke.
These four simple daily practices combine to help remove the food particles, mucus, and bacteria that form plaque and tartar buildup:
Brush your teeth at minimum twice a day: in the morning after rising and in the evening after dining. If you’d like to clean your mouth extra clean, you can also brush after lunch.
When you brush, use a toothbrush with soft bristles that are not too worn or frayed. If your toothbrush has worn or frayed bristles, replace it; if you have not replaced your toothbrush in three months, regardless of its condition, replace it. Worn, frayed bristles are not your only potential problem with toothbrushes that have sat around too long; bacteria is another problem. If you use an electric toothbrush, of course, replace the toothbrush heads using the same guidelines.
When you brush, squeeze out a small amount of fluoride toothpaste onto the bristles. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel which helps keep your teeth healthy and strong and allows you to keep eating your favorite foods.
When you brush, gently move the toothbrush in small circles or up-and-down motions against the teeth and gums. Do this along all the surfaces of your teeth – inner, outer, and biting surfaces – and your inner and outer gums. When you’ve brushed every tooth and all your gums this way, brush the roof of your mouth and the upper side and underside of your tongue. This gets rid of all the bacteria it can in all the spots where bacteria settles in the mouth.
All this should take no less than two minutes each time.
Brushing doesn’t remove all the food particles, bacteria, and plaque from your teeth, especially that which is trapped in the tiny spaces between your teeth. For that, you’ll need to floss. Dentists recommend flossing once per day, typically at night, since it’s while we sleep that bacteria can grow and spread and do the most damage.
To get the most out of flossing:
- Go from the gum line to the biting surface.
- Floss along the sides of each tooth in the space.
- Floss each space twice again, this time with the floss wrapped around one tooth then the other to floss the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth as well.
An antibacterial/antimicrobial/antiseptic mouth rinse or mouthwash can serve several purposes. Namely, it can:
- Help freshen your breath
- Kill the bacteria living in your mouth
- Remove the loose or easy to dislodge bacteria, food particles, and plaque in your mouth so your brushing and flossing can be deeper and more effective
- Cover for a gap in your ability to brush as floss your teeth as you would normally do at that time
4. Chewing Gum
Chewing sugarless gum can likewise cover for a gap in your ability to brush, floss, or rinse with mouthwash. You can also use it daily in between meals to help keep bacteria at bay and keep your mouth smelling fresh.
The reason the gum should be sugarless is that, when sugar blends with the harmful bacteria in the mouth, it produces an acid that attacks the teeth.
Chewing gum also stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva, which helps add back minerals to the tooth enamel it may have lost due to bacteria or that acid.
Other Ways to Practice Dental Hygiene
While those are the four cornerstones of dental hygiene, there are some other ways you can also help to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. This includes eating healthy. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and low in sugars and processed foods promotes dental health and, perhaps more importantly, helps prevent dental problems.
The Importance of Dental Hygienists
By professionally cleaning your teeth, providing basic evaluations of your dental health to report back to your dentist and helping to educate and advise you on healthy dental habits, your dental hygienist in Denville serves as your partner in dental hygiene. Call now to set up an appointment.