Dental Hygiene Month in Gainesville, VA
When October appears on your calendar, you know the holidays are right around the corner, starting with the most candy-laden one, Halloween. However, October is also National Dental Hygiene Month, which is an excellent time to hone your dental hygiene skills. The upcoming sweets-and-calorie-laden holiday celebrations can wreak havoc on even the best dental hygiene routines, so start preparing now to maintain your good oral health throughout the year. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our Gainesville, VA office today.
What's the Importance of Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene?
Your oral hygiene is an essential component of your good health, both oral and physical. Statistically, those with poor oral health also have poor physical health, and those with good oral health have good physical health. The science behind it is valid. The membranes and tissues in your mouth are very thin, so anything in your mouth will be transported throughout the body and become part of your major organs. This includes the inflammatory bacteria in gum disease and cavities, and they can lodge in your major organs and begin to inflame and infect them. Therefore, for the best physical health, you also need good oral health.
Is It Complicated to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?
Although it may sound complicated, maintaining good oral hygiene is simple and doesn't take much time. However, it needs consistency. It's often easy to skip brushing or flossing when you're exhausted or running late, but don't do that. Five minutes each for your morning and evening routine should be sufficient, and it may help you avoid major dental problems in the future. The American Dental Association recommends the following minimum:
- Brush at least twice daily
Ideally, you should brush after each meal or snack, but that's not always feasible, so brush in the morning and before bedtime at a minimum.
- Brush for at least two minutes in total
In your mind, divide your mouth into four quadrants: the upper left and right, and the lower left and right. Brush the teeth in each quadrant for at least 30 seconds to obtain the maximum benefit from brushing.
- Brush your tongue as well as your teeth
Your tongue has a very rough surface that's ideal for harboring bacteria. At first, it may feel odd to brush your tongue, but doing so can result in significantly fewer bacteria in your mouth.
- Floss at least once each day
To remove as many food particles as possible, the best time to floss is just before bedtime. Don't eat anything after you floss, or you defeat the purpose of flossing.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash
Mouthwash freshens your breath by removing residual bacteria in your mouth. Although brushing and flossing remove the majority of bacteria, mouthwash can reach crevices that your floss and toothbrush can't, so it removes as many bacteria as possible
- Rinse well
If you can't brush and floss after a meal or snack, then be sure to rinse your mouth well with plain water until you can brush and floss. This will remove many of the larger bacteria that can immediately begin to attack your tooth enamel.
- Dental exams and cleanings
The best practice is to schedule a dental exam and cleaning at least twice each year. However, that's not always feasible, so schedule an exam and cleaning at least once yearly.
When you spend the few minutes necessary to care for your teeth during your day, they're more likely to last throughout your lifetime, and you'll eliminate the need for dentures or implants.
Are There Recommended Ways to Brush?
The ADA recommends the following procedures when brushing your teeth and tongue:
- Hold your soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth
- Brush the outside and top surfaces first
- Use gentle pressure, and short, back-and-forth strokes
- Change your toothbrush angle to a vertical position and brush the inner surfaces of your upper and lower teeth
- Brush your tongue using gentle pressure
- Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you've been sick
It may take some time to get accustomed to brushing your tongue, but the results are worth the adjustment period.
Is Flossing Essential?
Like brushing, flossing is an essential element of good oral hygiene. It doesn't matter whether you use traditional floss, a floss pick, or a flosser. The floss reaches areas of your teeth that your toothbrush can't reach, so it's an integral component of good oral hygiene.
What About Rinsing and Mouthwash?
Since it's not always feasible to brush and floss after a meal or snack, rinsing your mouth well with plain water or using an antibacterial mouthwash can help you maintain your oral hygiene until it's convenient to brush and floss. Rinse well with plain water and swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds to remove as many bacteria as possible.
Is Chewing Gum Beneficial?
Although we don't recommend chewing bubble gum as part of your oral health regimen, the ADA recommends chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack to strengthen your tooth enamel and remove food particles and bacteria. This is, of course, a personal decision since many people aren't accustomed to chewing any type of gum, especially if they have a loose crown or filling.
Don't Avoid Your Gainesville, VA Dentist
Your dentist at Atlas Walk is your biggest ally in maintaining good oral health. When you have regularly scheduled dental checkups, your dentist can detect anomalies that you may miss. Many dental issues arise without symptoms, such as oral cancer, for example. You won't notice symptoms until the disease has spread, but your dentist can detect and treat it before it has the chance to spread. We recommend that everyone who is at least 18 get screened for oral cancer during their exam. The screening isn't painful or invasive but should be part of your good oral hygiene.
Need to Schedule an Appointment in Gainesville, VA?
If you need to schedule your annual exam, you need an oral cancer screening, or if you need any other dental procedure, then call our office at 703-278-2075 and let us help you. We're among the best in the area, and we know you'll be happy with the service you receive.
Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you.