October is Dental Hygiene Month, a special time where we stop to recognize all of the work that dental hygienists do to support the oral health of patients and to raise awareness regarding the importance of oral hygiene.
Each year, education and awareness focuses on a specific aspect of oral health and, for 2018, we are concentrating on the four routines that help people maintain healthy smiles: brushing, flossing, rinsing, and chewing.
In celebration of National Dental Hygiene Month, here are some tips to help you master the four routines.
While most people know they need to brush at least twice a day, having the proper technique is also vital for good oral health. When you brush, make sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle, tooth-wide back and forth strokes to clean each tooth.
As you brush, you want to address every tooth surface, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. When you need to clean the inner surface of your front teeth, rotate the brush to a vertical position and use up-and-down strokes to make it easier.
When you brush, make sure you don’t forget to give your tongue a good scrub. Food particles and bacteria can become trapped on the surface, promoting tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. If you want, you can also invest in a tongue scraper, but using your toothbrush and some toothpaste can also do the job. It’s also important to choose the best toothbrush.
Flossing should be, at a minimum, a daily activity. It allows you to clean tooth surfaces that your brush can’t reach and make sure that food particles or plaque aren’t trapped between your teeth.
As you floss, you want to curve the floss slightly around the side of each tooth, doing at least one up-and-down pass with the floss curved to the right and another where it curves to the left. Additionally, move the floss slightly below the gum line, but don’t go too far or use too much pressure or you can damage the tissue.
Rinsing can play a surprisingly big role in good oral health. For example, rinsing with water after each meal can help remove food particles, helping to prevent tooth decay and bad breath. If you don’t have a chance to brush after lunch because you are on-the-go, make sure to at least do a quick water rinse after your done eating.
When you are home, make sure to rinse with an anti-microbial mouthwash at least once a day after brushing. Not only can this help combat bad breath, but it also helps in the fight against gum disease.
Chewing sugarless gum after eating or enjoying a beverage has a positive impact on oral health. It promotes the creation of saliva, one of your mouth’s best defenses against tooth decay. If you make chewing sugarless gum, especially options with xylitol, part of your routine, you can help fight cavities, neutralize damaging plaque acids, and even strengthen enamel, all of which can lead to a healthier smile.
By mastering the four routines above, you can make sure that you are protecting your oral health. Just make sure you also keep your appointments with your Taos dentist too, as getting your regular cleanings is also part of a healthy routine.