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4 Smile Tips for National Dental Hygiene Month

Posted on October 6, 2015 | in Dental Care | by

Do the Daily in National Dental Health Month and Every Day!

October brings us a few reasons to celebrate and help spread some dental health awareness – its National Dental Hygiene Month!

Here are three reasons why dentists LOVE October…in addition to the month of February:

1. October is National Dental Hygiene Month
2. Halloween ensures job security
3. October is also National Orthodontic Health Month

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association website, October 2015 marks the sixth straight year that the ADHA and the William Wrigley Jr. Company are teaming together during National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM).

The ADHA and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) are working collaboratively to increase public awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

Remember: Oral Health = Overall Health!

The “Do The Daily 4” message the NDHM & WOHP are focusing on spreading in 2015 involves the four most important components of preventative oral health maintenance:

1. Brushing our teeth 2x a day
2. Daily flossing
3. Rinsing with mouthwash daily
4. Chewing sugar-free gum

Do The Daily 4 – Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew

Why is preventative oral health maintenance so important?

Because if we all absorb the message of a diligent daily dental health regimen we can reduce things like kids tooth decay – about 40% of children have tooth decay by age 5, which causes more than 51 million school hours to be lost each year due to dental-related illnesses.

Tooth decay & gum disease are 100% preventable!!

Here’s how to do it…by making sure we all Do The Daily 4

1. Brush 2x a Day, for 2 Minutes

Always Brush Your Teeth for 2 Minutes, Twice a Day, Every Day.

Optimal oral health in National Dental Hygiene month and beyond starts with the toothbrush.

One of the most important things we can do is to brush our teeth for two minutes, in the morning & at night before we go to bed.

Proper brushing reduces sticky-icky plaque, prevents tooth decay, and helps limit the onset of gum disease.

Here are some links from the to help you find out more about how to brush your way to a healthier smile and mouth.

Proper brushing technique
Tips on brushing
Tooth brushing tips for caregivers of older adults

2. Floss DAILY

Make Flossing a Daily Habit.

Do you floss your teeth every day?

According to Colgate.com, some statistics say that nearly 80 percent of people don’t floss!

Daily flossing is so important because your toothbrush doesn’t reach the spaces between your teeth, and using dental floss (or interdental brushes) are the best ways to remove any remaining food particles and plaque to prevent cavities & gum disease.

Your oral health is connected to your overall health, so skipping the daily flossing can actually make you more susceptible to infection, and other overall health issues like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, & prenatal complications – among others.

Flossing can also help prevent bad breath, so make sure you don’t skip step two of your “Do The Daily Four” daily dental health routine.

Did you know that daily flossing can actually SAVE you money at the dentist?

By simply flossing your teeth each day you can reduce the impact on your bank account when it comes to shelling out some cash for expensive dental work to treat problems that could have been identified earlier – at a significantly lesser cost.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Ben Franklin

Here are some helpful links about the importance of flossing your teeth:

Proper flossing technique
Text 2 Floss – A partnership between ADHA and the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Text2Floss is a one-week interactive educational tool meant to help people develop positive oral hygiene habits through the use of mobile technology.
Flossing for oral health
Flossing and interdental cleaning tips

3. Daily Rinsing with Mouthwash

Rinse with Mouthwash to Improve Oral Health.

Rinsing with an anti-microbial mouthwash every day is the third component in the “Do The Daily 4” steps to dental health success.

Not only does a daily dose of mouthwash help reduce bad breath, but rinsing is another important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis).

Although among the most important, daily brushing & flossing alone doesn’t crush all of the bacteria causing cavity creeps.

Our teeth really only account for less than half of your mouth, so make sure to put a bow on your preventative dental health regimen each day but swishing with some mouthwash.

When combing the isles searching for the best mouthwash, just try to look for an antiseptic mouthwash which has the ADA Seal of Acceptance on it.

You should also talk to your dental hygienist next time you’re in the office for that routine bi-annual checkup & cleaning.

Here are some helpful links from the ADHA highlighting the proper use of mouthwash.

Journal of Dental Hygiene supplement on anti-microbial mouth rinses
For dental hygienists: Online continuing education course for the supplement

4. Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing Gum Can Help Keep Teeth Healthy While You’re on the Go.

Maybe you just powered down a colossal cheeseburger watching your favorite sports team, or perhaps that pistachio ice cream cone didn’t stand a chance, chewing gum after eating is a great way to give your teeth & gums a little on-the-go love.

Do you remember when gum was actually bad for our teeth?

It still is if we’re chomping down on super sweet sugar cubes of gummy deliciousness, but chewing sugar-free gum has come a long way since…

Chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on 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.

So stoke up the saliva production and help your body naturally fight against tooth decay by chewing sugar-free gum after meals!

How You Can Get Involved In National Dental Hygiene Month

Support your local dentists & dental hygienists!

Snap a Selfie with the NDHM Poster – and You Could Win $150!

This year’s “Capture a Candid” contest encourages dental hygienists to take a picture of themselves, their colleagues, their community – anyone who is committed to improving oral health – and the NDHM poster in the most unique, non-operatory setting. Be sure to highlight the Daily 4 regimen of brush, floss, rinse and chew, share your photo with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and include the #NDHM2015 hashtag with your submission.

Check out the NDHA social media sites for more information!

ADHAD on TwitterADHA on FacebookADHA on Instagram

This post originally appeared on ManhattanCosmeticDentistDDS.com and has been republished with permission.

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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