October is National Dental Hygiene Month

National Dental Hygiene Month

No Better Time Than Now to Focus on Dental Hygiene

Toothbrushing is one of those routine daily exercises most of us don’t give a second thought to. To be honest, I’m often on autopilot while brushing my teeth.

But just going through the motions while brushing our teeth is a prime missed opportunity to protect our teeth from cavities and plaque, but also to improve our general overall oral health. Sleepy toothbrushing leads to missed plaque, overlooked trouble spots, and, sadly, preventable cavities. And we all know the potential painful nightmares poor dental hygiene can create.

“Diseases such as gum disease, oral cancer and terrifyingly horrible breath (which is often an indication of other oral problems) can invade your mouth and make your life a living hell,” Sam Cohen of the Huffington Post stresses.

That’s why it’s good to check in regularly with America’s dental hygiene experts. Dental hygienists, those friendly, hard-working soldiers who man the front lines working to help their patients properly care for their teeth, could write an entire series of books on the importance of good oral health. There’s no better time than October, National Dental Hygiene Month, to focus on the tips dental hygienists say, can make our own toothbrushing and dental hygiene great again.

As Colgate.com notes, there are five essential elements to the proper toothbrushing technique:

  1. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  2. Gently move the brush back and fourth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  3. Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  4. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
  5. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

All of these toothbrushing practices should be observed every time we brush, along with the Golden Rule of Toothbrushing: Brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush.

But remember, toothbrushing is not the be-all and end-all of comprehensive dental hygiene care.

“Brushing can clean the surface of the teeth, but it cannot do the same for the spaces in between teeth,” Cohen notes.

With that telling fact in mind, the American Dental Association also stresses including flossing and rinsing (using a non-alcohol rinse) with a daily toothbrushing routine may help reduce the chance of dental decay and infection. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can also help prevent tooth decay, according to MouthHealthy.org.

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association calls this daily oral health routine the Daily 4: 1) Brushing; 2) Flossing; 3) Rinsing; 4) Chewing.

But National Dental Hygiene Month is a great time to get to know your friendly neighborhood (ie your dentist’s office) dental hygienist better, talk with them about your family’s dental care habits and routine, and ask them for help improving you and your family’s oral health.

For few people know the way to a healthier smile and mouth better than your dental hygienist.

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