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Posted on: October 7, 2022
October Is National Dental Hygiene Month
When September ends, we know the next few months will be full of sweet treats, holiday meals, and celebratory drinks. Unfortunately, while this may all appeal to our stomachs, it may not work so well for our teeth.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and dentists across the nation are busy planning for the influx of patients whose teeth aren’t responding well to the number of holiday sugars and carbs they’ve consumed. Considering that these celebrations may cause their patients to be too tired to attend to their normal oral hygiene regimen, dentists have their hands full during the holidays. Remember, though, that maintaining your good oral hygiene shouldn’t be time-consuming. A good oral hygiene regimen should take only minutes in the morning and evening, so continue your celebrations knowing that you can celebrate and still have healthy teeth and gums.
Why Is Dental Hygiene So Important?
Maintaining a healthy mouth is important because whatever is in your mouth will eventually be in all your major organs, whether it’s bacteria from a tooth infection or gum disease, or nutrients from your food. Since the tissues in your mouth are very thin, substances can easily pass through them and into your bloodstream, so be careful what you put into your mouth.
Statistics have established a correlation between good oral health and good physical health. Conversely, there’s also a correlation between poor oral health and poor physical health, which includes the onset of diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and more. If you want good physical health and longevity, then good oral health is essential.
Your Miami dentist is your strongest ally in maintaining good oral health, so don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have questions about your oral health or need to schedule an appointment.
What Are the Best Steps to Take for Good Oral Hygiene?
The American Dental Association recommends the following steps for good oral hygiene:
- Brush at least twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Brush immediately before bedtime and don’t eat or drink anything but plain water after you brush.
- Floss at least once each day, although you should ideally floss after each meal or snack. Dental floss can reach areas that your toothbrush bristles can’t, which can minimize the likelihood of developing cavities or gum disease. If you floss only once daily, do so just before bedtime, and don’t eat anything after you floss or you will defeat the purpose of flossing. The type of floss doesn’t matter as long as you floss.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once daily to remove residual bacteria that brushing and flossing missed.
- Brush your tongue. Although this may feel odd at first, your tongue is a haven for bacteria and brushing can remove them.
- Get an annual dental exam and teeth cleaning. If possible, get an exam and cleaning semi-annually. If that’s not feasible, then get an annual exam and cleaning at a minimum.
In addition, the following techniques can help maximize the effectiveness of your brushing routine:
- Maintaining your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle while you brush will widen the area that your toothbrush can reach.
- Use gentle pressure with slow, back-and-forth strokes. Firm pressure can damage your tooth enamel, and fast motions will be less effective at removing food particles and bacteria.
- Brush the outer surfaces first, starting with the upper teeth. Right side or left first doesn’t matter.
- Hold your toothbrush vertically to brush your bottom teeth and the inner surfaces of your teeth. This will help you reach more of the remote areas of your lower teeth.
- Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you’ve been sick. If the bristles start to fray, change your toothbrush.
Flossing will reach areas that your toothbrush bristles can’t, so flossing should be an integral part of your daily routine. Whether you use a flosser, a floss pick or traditional floss doesn’t matter as long as you use one or more of them.
Rinsing your mouth with either plain water or an antibacterial mouthwash will help flush out hidden food particles that may be lodged between your teeth and gums. Mouthwash will also remove residual bacteria, so you’ll have fresher breath, which will help fight gum disease.
The ADA reports that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack can strengthen your tooth enamel while it removes food particles and bacteria. Chewing sugar-free gum also promotes saliva production and removes food acids that can attack your tooth enamel.
Good Oral Hygiene: Yes, It’s That Important!
Even though it’s tempting to skip flossing or mouthwash in the evening when we’re exhausted or in the morning when we’re rushed, it’s a very bad idea. When conditions are ideal, plaque and gum disease can start very quickly, so when you’re tempted to skip parts of your oral hygiene regimen, don’t give in to the temptation. Dedication and diligence are the keys to good oral hygiene and, by extension, good physical health.
Need to Schedule an Appointment?
If you need to schedule a routine exam and teeth cleaning, an oral cancer screening, or you need any other dental procedure, then call Pediatric Dental Associates at (786) 671-3904, and we can help you. We recommend that everyone who is at least 18 get screened for oral cancer, which is a rapidly spreading disease. It can be present for a long time without exhibiting any symptoms, and by the time you notice symptoms, the disease will have spread. Don’t take a chance with oral cancer. The screening is painless and non-invasive; your dentist will screen during your exam.
If you need any dental services, call our Miami office. We’re among the best in the area for general dentistry, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Help us celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month by getting your teeth examined and cleaned, so you start the holidays with the best oral health possible.
Call us today. You’ll be glad you did.