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Posted on: October 7, 2022
October Is Dental Hygiene Month
Although most people don’t think of oral hygiene when they think of October, perhaps they should. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, as well as the month of Halloween. Your dentist is probably busy formulating plans for all their patients to recover from their Halloween candy and forestall the increase in dental issues that often arises during the holidays.
With all the upcoming holiday celebrations, feasts, and snacks, you may be tempted to become slack on your dental hygiene routine, but this is a particularly bad time of year to do that because it doesn’t take long for cavities and gum disease to start. Make sure that with all the festivities you attend, you don’t neglect your good oral hygiene. If you have any questions about your dental hygiene routine, call our Rockefeller Plaza office, and we’ll be happy to help you.
Why Is Dental Hygiene So Important?
Your dental hygiene is directly linked to the quality of your dental health, which is inextricably linked to the quality of your physical health. Although this may seem counterintuitive, there’s a scientific reason for it. The membranes in your mouth are very thin, so any substance in your mouth, whether nutrients or bacteria, is carried throughout your body to your major organs.
Bacteria can cause inflammation anywhere in your body, especially in your major organs. It has been shown to cause serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and stroke, among others. So, for the best physical health and longevity, make sure you maintain your good oral hygiene routine, especially throughout the holiday season.
What Should I Do to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is simple and doesn’t require a significant investment in time; you probably already have all the necessary supplies. Your entire hygiene routine should take only a few minutes each morning and at night, but it can have a significant and positive impact on both your physical and dental health.
The American Dental Association recommends the following steps and techniques to maintain the best oral hygiene possible:
- Brush at least twice daily, and once should be just before bedtime. Don’t eat anything after you brush at night, or you will defeat the purpose of brushing.
- Brush your tongue. This may seem odd, and it may feel unusual, but it can be a significant improvement to your overall daily hygiene routine. Your tongue’s rough surface can harbor many bacteria that can be removed by brushing your tongue, so try to accustom yourself to adding this step to your daily oral hygiene routine.
- Floss at least once daily. Optimally, you should floss after each meal or snack, but if you floss only once each day, do so just before bedtime, and don’t eat anything after you floss.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once daily. Although you may prefer to use it in the morning, using mouthwash at night can help minimize the number of bacteria that remain in your mouth overnight.
- Get an annual dental checkup and teeth cleaning; semi-annual is better if that’s feasible. Your dentist is your greatest ally in maintaining good dental health.
Additional techniques recommended by the ADA include:
- When you brush, keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, and your entire brushing routine should take a full two minutes. Mentally divide your mouth into four sections – the upper left, the upper right, the lower left, and the lower right – and brush each section for at least 30 seconds with a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s the appropriate size for your mouth. The order in which you brush doesn’t matter as long as you get all four quadrants.
- Use gentle pressure with slow, back-and-forth strokes. Fast strokes and firm pressure can damage your tooth enamel, so avoid doing that.
- Brush the outer surfaces of your teeth first and start with your upper teeth.
- When brushing your lower teeth, hold your toothbrush vertically, brush the outer surfaces first and then brush the inner surfaces of both your upper and lower teeth.
- Change your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick.
Make sure that all your dental products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re using a quality product.
Are There Any Other Techniques for Oral Hygiene That I Can Use?
Rinsing your mouth well with plain water or an antibacterial mouthwash can remove bacteria that your other steps missed. This is particularly important for times when brushing and flossing aren’t feasible.
The ADA also recommends chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating to:
- Strengthen tooth enamel
- Remove food particles and bacteria from the mouth
- Increase the flow of saliva
If you have any questions, call our office, and we’ll be happy to answer them all.
What Can My Dentist Do?
Your dentist is your greatest ally in maintaining good oral hygiene and, by extension, your good physical health. No matter how good your oral hygiene routine is, your dentist may have recommendations for improvement. During your routine dental exam, your dentist can spot minor issues before they escalate. Some dental problems can be present for a long time without showing any symptoms, but your dentist has been trained to spot anomalies before they escalate.
Oral cancer, for example, can be present for a long time with no symptoms. By the time you notice symptoms, the disease will have spread. We recommend that everyone who is 18 or older get screened for oral cancer because the disease is increasingly evident among dental patients. The screening isn’t painful, and it’s non-invasive; your dentist will screen during your exam.
Do You Need an Appointment?
If you need to be screened for oral cancer, you need to schedule an annual exam, or you need any other dental procedure, then call Richard L. Rausch, DDS at (646) 863-8184, and we’ll help you. We’re one of the best dental offices in the Rockefeller Plaza area, and we’re very proud of our reputation. We’d love to be able to help you.
Call us for an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.