Dental Hygiene Month in Gainesville, GA
When the weather cools and the days get shorter, our thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays and all the treats we can look forward to, especially on Halloween. However, October is also Dental Hygiene Month, and it's a good time to start thinking about protecting your teeth from all the sweets and treats you'll have. So, during October, we're focusing on maintaining your healthy teeth and gums so you can enjoy pain-free holiday snacks and treats.
Why Is It Important to Have Good Oral Hygiene?
The condition of your oral health plays a vital role in the condition of your physical health, so if you want a long, healthy life, then you need good oral health. This means you need to have good oral hygiene habits. Statistics have established a correlation between good physical health and good oral health, and, conversely, a correlation between poor oral health and poor physical health.
The science behind this shows that everything in your mouth is eventually transported via the bloodstream to all other parts of the body. This means that the inflammatory bacteria that are part of gum disease and cavities will go to your major organs and begin to cause infection and disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. The tissues in your mouth are very thin, so the bacteria can easily pass through them and enter the bloodstream.
What Steps Are Involved in Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene?
There are several steps to maintaining good oral hygiene, but they're all simple and should take no more than a few minutes at night and a few minutes in the morning. The few minutes spent on your oral health will provide substantial benefits in the future, such as eliminating the need for dentures or implants.
The American Dental Association recommends the following procedures for achieving the maximum benefit from your daily hygiene routine:
- Brush twice daily at a minimum: In an ideal world, you should brush every time you eat, whether it's a snack or a meal, but that's not always an option. Brush in the morning and before bedtime at a minimum, and don't
consume anything but plain water after you brush at night.
- Floss at least once each day: Just before bedtime is the best time to floss if you floss just once daily. Again, don't eat anything after you floss or you defeat the purpose of flossing. It doesn't matter whether you use traditional floss, a flosser, or a floss pick. The important factor is that you floss.
- Start using an antibacterial mouthwash: Swishing mouthwash for 20 to 30 seconds can remove any residual bacteria that your brushing and flossing missed, and it freshens your breath as well.
- Regular dental exams and cleanings: An annual dental exam and cleaning will keep your mouth healthier, but if you can manage semi-annual exams, that's even better.
In addition, the following tips can help you maintain the best oral hygiene possible:
- Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth: Your tongue has a very rough surface, so it's the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Although it may take time to get accustomed to brushing your tongue, it can result in a much cleaner mouth.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes total: Visually divide your mouth into four quadrants: the upper left and right, and the lower left and right. Brush each quadrant for at least 30 seconds, so you receive the most benefit from brushing.
- Rinse your mouth well: If it's not feasible to brush and floss after a snack or a meal, then be sure to rinse your mouth well with plain water until you can resume your brushing and flossing routine.
Your entire daily hygiene routine shouldn't consume more than 10 minutes of your day, but it's one of the best investments you can make in your health.
Are There Recommended Ways to Brush?
In addition to their recommended routines, the ADA recommends the following techniques to maximize the impact of your brushing routine:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth
- Brush the top teeth and outside surfaces first
- Use short, gentle back-and-forth strokes
- Change your toothbrush angle to a vertical position and brush your lower teeth and the inner surfaces of both your upper and lower teeth
- Brush your tongue with your soft-bristled toothbrush using gentle pressure
- Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you've been sick
By following ADA guidelines, you can maintain healthy teeth and gums. Also, ask your dentist for their recommendations for your daily routine.
Do I Have to Floss?
Strictly speaking, you don't have to floss, nor do you have to brush. However, both brushing and flossing will help you maintain good oral hygiene and reduce the likelihood of needing dentures or implants in the future.
Flossing removes food particles and bacteria that your other procedures may have missed, and dental floss can reach areas that your toothbrush bristles can't. It doesn't matter whether you use traditional floss, a floss pick, or a flosser. The important factor is that you floss at least once daily.
Are Rinsing and Using Mouthwash Helpful?
Sometimes, you'll be where you can't brush or floss after a meal or snack. At these times, rinsing your mouth well with water or mouthwash can remove many of the bacteria that start the process of decay and gum disease. Then, when it's convenient, return to brushing and flossing in your usual manner. Rinsing with mouthwash or water should never take the place of brushing and flossing. It's an interim procedure only.
Does It Help to Chew Gum?
The ADA states that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack can remove bacteria and food particles from your teeth so that decay doesn't start. It must be sugar-free gum, however.
Make Your Dentist Your Friend
Your dentist should be your staunchest ally in maintaining good oral hygiene. No matter the quality of your dental routine, your [GEOID] dentist may have recommendations to improve it, so ask them. They can also spot minor issues before they escalate, so your dentist's input is invaluable to your good oral health.
Need to Make a Dental Appointment in Gainesville, GA?
If you need to make a dental appointment for your routine exam and cleaning, an oral cancer screening, or any other dental issue, call our office at (770) 729-4820, and we can help you.
Make your dental hygiene a priority. Call us today.