October is National Dental Hygiene Month, the perfect time to celebrate the work that dental hygienists do to promote happy, healthy smiles! In fact, during each of your twice-annual appointments, our hygienists are hard at work removing your plaque and tartar, improving your periodontal health, evaluating your oral hygiene, and polishing your teeth for a beautiful shine. However, even if you are in between cleanings with our amazing hygienists, you can still keep your smile clean and healthy. Follow these guidelines by the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) to learn how you can keep your smile clean at home—just like a hygienist!
You should be brushing your teeth twice daily to clear away any leftover food debris and prevent the accumulation of plaque or the development of cavities. Remember to look for a toothbrush that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), and always change out your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months (or sooner if the bristles get frayed).
Flossing helps remove the debris and plaque that collects in the hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Flossing is a vital step in your dental routine, as it reduces your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to floss, try using a floss pick. This alternative is easier to use than traditional dental floss and might help you incorporate flossing into your oral hygiene routine.
Using an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash can help kill the plaque and gingivitis germs that brushing and flossing can’t always catch. Much like your toothbrush, you should always look for a mouthwash that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance. Also, you should always read the instructions on your mouthwash label! Some are intended to use before brushing, while other types are designed for after brushing.
When you’re on the go, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal is a great alternative to brushing. The increased saliva generated by chewing gum helps wash away the acids left behind by bacteria in the mouth. Chewing gum also neutralizes plaque, strengthens enamel, and removes any remaining food in the mouth.
Following these four easy guidelines from the ADHA should help you keep your mouth healthy and clean this month! However, nothing beats a professional cleaning and checkup with our team of experts. If you’re overdue for your next biannual cleaning, give us a call today to schedule an appointment!