October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

Here are some guidelines around brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing sugar-free gum, you can following and apply it to your daily oral health regimen.

Brush

Always brush two minutes, two times a day, every day

Research shows that brushing for two minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque-related diseases. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles. Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively. Here are some links to help you find out more about how to brush your way to a healthier smile and mouth.

Floss

Ensure Flossing is a Daily Habit

Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gumline and between teeth. Failure to do so can allow for plaque buildup in these areas – which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Getting into the routine of daily flossing can be a challenge. Making flossing easier can improve compliance with recommendations for daily flossing. If you resist flossing, try to determine why and tell your dental hygienist. Knowing the precise reason you are not flossing will enable them to recommend floss with the right thickness, coating or filaments so you might be encouraged to floss more often. Here are some additional education information sources and resources to assist in making sure to floss each day.

Rinse

Use mouthwash to improve oral health

Rinsing your mouth with an anti-microbial mouth rinse each day is another important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis). Remember that the teeth themselves account for less than half of your mouth, so brushing and flossing alone cannot eliminate all plaque and germs. Be sure to finish your oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. You also should talk with your dental hygienist to determine which mouth rinse is right for you. The following educational information and resources can provide with you additional insight into the proper use of mouthwash.

Chew

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help fight tooth decay

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Chewing sugar-free gum after eating is clinically proven to be an important part of good oral health. The action of chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay — saliva — which in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles. Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health. Help your body naturally fight against tooth decay by chewing sugar-free gum after meals. Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health.

When should I floss?

If you are one of the 50 percent of the population who floss on a daily basis, we think that’s great! We prefer our patients practice good oral hygiene between office visits, and part of that process includes flossing, which is the process of cleaning between the teeth to remove food and debris from the areas that are otherwise hard to reach with a toothbrush. When food remains trapped between the teeth, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which can ultimately cause periodontal disease.

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, should I floss before or after brushing?”

According to the American Dental Association, you can do either. The advantage of flossing first is that you can brush away dislodged food debris afterward. However, brushing before flossing allows you to loosen plaque between the teeth, making it easier to floss more effectively.

Whichever you choose, make sure to floss thoroughly. That means using a fresh strand of dental floss each day, and carefully pulling it back and forth between all of the teeth. Do not skip flossing because your teeth look or feel clean.

Unlike brushing, you needn’t floss multiple times a day; once a day will do the trick. Some of our patients choose to floss in the morning or after lunch, however many prefer to floss at night so as to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. The idea here is that flossing before bedtime could prevent the build-up of plaque, a known cause of tooth decay.

Patients can choose between interdental cleaning picks, pre-strung flossers, or flexible floss strands. If you have questions about your flossing technique or which type of floss is best for your teeth, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss this with you and make home care recommendations.

Happy flossing!

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