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October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

woman practicing good hygiene

October’s crisp, cool air brings to mind Halloween, fall pumpkins, and treats, and Halloween candy for most of us. For dentists, however, it can bring an influx of toothaches and dental issues due to the number of sweets and carbs that are consumed and the tendency of some of their patients to slack off on their oral hygiene routines.

Since October is National Dental Hygiene Month, spend some time with your Gainesville dentist to ensure that your teeth won’t deteriorate during the holidays and that you’ll be able to enjoy your festivities without tooth pain, discomfort, or dental emergencies. Your dentist is your greatest ally in maintaining healthy teeth and a healthy body, so don’t hesitate to enlist their aid and take advantage of their years of training and expertise.

Why Is Dental Hygiene So Important?

 Your dental health is inextricably linked to your physical health, so if you have a healthy mouth, you’re more likely to have a healthy body. Research has established a direct correlation between oral health and physical health. Those who have good oral health tend to have better physical health. Conversely, those who have poor oral health tend to have poor physical health.

Although this may seem counterintuitive, it’s based on scientific fact. The membranes and tissues in your mouth are very thin and porous, so any substance that’s in your mouth readily passes through them and into the bloodstream. It’s then carried throughout the body to the major organs, and if it’s inflammatory bacteria, then infection and disease can start. Poor oral health has been linked to severe diseases like cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and more. Also, with poor oral health, you’ll be less likely to smile, so your self-esteem and self-confidence may suffer.

What Are Good Techniques and Habits for Dental Health?

 The best techniques for maintaining good dental health are as follows:

  • Brush at least twice daily, once in the morning and once at night just before bedtime, and brush your tongue as well as your teeth. Brushing your tongue may seem odd initially, but it’s an invaluable addition to a good oral hygiene regimen. Don’t eat anything after your nighttime brushing, or you will defeat the purpose of brushing.
  • Floss at least once daily. Twice is better; ideally, you should floss after each meal or snack. If you floss only once each day, then floss at night just before bedtime, and don’t eat anything after you floss.
  • Rinse your mouth at least once daily with an antibacterial mouthwash. Although some people prefer to rinse in the morning, rinsing at night removes any residual bacteria that your other methods may have missed, but it’s okay to rinse both morning and night.
  • Schedule at least an annual dental exam and teeth cleaning. If you can schedule your cleaning and exam twice yearly, that’s even better, but it’s not always feasible.

 Your entire routine in the morning and in the evening shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and the following tips and techniques may help streamline your routine:

  • Mentally divide your mouth into four sections: the upper left, the lower left, the upper right, and the lower right, and spend at least 30 seconds on each section, so your entire brushing routine should take at least two minutes. In addition, consider the following:
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth.
  • Use short, gentle back-and-forth strokes.
  • Brush the top and outer surfaces of your teeth first.
  • Adjust your toothbrush angle to vertical and brush the lower and inner surfaces of your teeth.
  • Brush your tongue with gentle motions and pressure.
  • Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you’ve been sick.
  • Make sure all your dental products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re using a quality product.

 It’s more important to use a slow, gentle motion than a rapid one. Firm pressure and a rapid motion can damage your tooth enamel, so try to avoid those.

ADA Recommendations

 According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after you eat can help remove food particles and bacteria while it strengthens your tooth enamel. Be sure it’s sugar-free, however. Your teeth are more susceptible to plaque formation immediately after you’ve eaten, so keep a supply of sugar-free gum available.

Using an antibacterial mouthwash helps to remove bacterial residue and leaves your mouth as clean as possible. If using mouthwash isn’t an option, then you can rinse with plain water until you can resume your daily oral hygiene regimen.

A regular dental exam and teeth cleaning should be an integral part of your oral hygiene routine. No matter the quality of your oral hygiene regimen, your dentist may detect anomalies, such as oral cancer, before you’re aware of them. Ask your dentist for recommendations on improving your daily oral hygiene routine.

The incidence of oral cancer is rising dramatically, and it presents asymptomatically, so you won’t be aware of it until it has spread. Your dentist, however, can detect it during your exam, so we recommend that all our patients who are at least 18 get screened for oral cancer. The screening isn’t invasive or painful; your dentist will screen during your exam. It can play a major role in your good oral health, however.

Need to Make a Dental Appointment?

 If you need to schedule your annual exam and cleaning, an oral cancer screening, or if you need an appointment for any other dental procedure, then call Tioga Dental & Orthodontics at , and we can help you. We’re among the best in the Gainesville area, and we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the service you receive from our office.

To get the most enjoyment from your holiday festivities and to deter dental emergencies during the holidays, call our Gainesville office for an appointment.

We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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