Did you know that in 2009, the American Dental Hygienist Association (ADHA) established the month of October as National Dental Hygiene Month? The goal of this month is to spread awareness about the importance of dental hygiene and to educate the public about the best dental hygiene practices. While this is something that your dentist and their hygienists do all year during your dental appointments, National Dental Hygiene Month aims to provide dental hygiene with a national spotlight.
As you have probably been told by your dentist, dental hygiene is extremely important since the health of your smile relates to how clean you keep your mouth. This is because the two most common dental problems, tooth decay and gum disease, are both caused by excess bacteria that accumulates on the teeth and around the gums in dental plaque. Therefore, the majority of dental hygiene practices aim to decrease the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth as a way of decreasing the risk of developing these problems. Generally speaking, the more diligent you are about oral hygiene, the healthier your smile will be and vice versa.
This brings us to the second focus of National Dental Hygiene Month, specifically, what can you do to improve your dental hygiene? Here are a few of the best dental hygiene tips from everyone here at The Sadati Center for Aesthetic Dentistry:
Be Consistent with the Basics
In the simplest sense, good dental hygiene begins with brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily. Ideally you will want to brush and floss before bedtime since that removes the bacteria that has accumulated throughout the day. While many people tend to follow a brushing routine, research shows that only about a third of Americans floss daily. The other two-thirds are divided into those who floss occasionally and those who never floss. Unfortunately, failing to brush twice a day or floss once a day is considered poor oral hygiene.
Don’t Skip Dental Cleanings
The American Dental Association recommends having your teeth cleaned at least once every six months, however some individuals may require more frequent cleanings. No matter how much you practice dental hygiene at home, professional dental cleanings are still a must for good dental hygiene. This is because professional cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist, who is an expert in cleaning your teeth. Not only that, but they have a wide range of tools available to allow them to deep clean your teeth comfortably and effectively.
Check Your Toothbrush
Another way to improve your dental hygiene is to make sure that you are using the right toothbrush to clean your teeth. For starters, you should use a toothbrush that is long enough to reach the back of your mouth and that has soft bristles. Contrary to popular belief, stiff bristles do not clean your teeth better and they can actually cause your enamel to erode prematurely. Depending on your preferences and ability to maneuver a toothbrush, you may also want to consider an electric toothbrush since they can provide a more thorough cleaning. Once you have selected your toothbrush, you will also need to remember to replace it at least once every 3-4 months or after you’ve been sick. This is because old toothbrushes can harbor harmful bacteria. Additionally, old toothbrushes with bristles that are worn, bent, or frayed cannot remove plaque as effectively as new toothbrushes.
Drink Water and Eat Healthy
Drinking plenty of water instead of drinking soda, as well as eating healthier foods like crunchy fruits and vegetables is another way to improve your dental hygiene. Water is beneficial not only to stay hydrated, but it helps to keep your mouth clean and prevents it from becoming too acidic. Crunchy fruits and vegetables also help to clean your teeth and don’t contain high amounts of sugar. This is important because bacteria feed on sugar, so consuming less sugar controls the amount of bacteria.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.