For many people, it seems like time is speeding up. Therefore, in an attempt to meet deadlines at work, to fulfill family responsibilities or to meet other obligations, one’s oral health can sometimes take a backseat. Dentists understand all too well what can happen when the mouth, teeth and gums are neglected. Simply put, it can cause mayhem. To prevent this from happening, the month of October has been designated as National Dental Hygiene Month, and the emphasis is on prevention through maintaining excellent dental hygiene and regular visits to a dentist. Read on to get some tips on what you can do at home to protect yourself!
Why Your Dental Hygiene is So Important
Inside your mouth lie countless bacteria, and when food or beverages are consumed, they migrate to the areas where any particles are left behind. The bacteria then feed on the leftovers and release caustic fluids as they digest the debris. Over time, this can lead to enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) erosion and cavity development.
Then, because bacteria only travel in one direction – forward – they will only continue to wreak more havoc until they are stopped. The goal, though, of National Dental Hygiene Month is to prevent any of this from ever happening. This can be made possible by following some simple steps.
Practice Consistent Dental Hygiene
For your dental hygiene practices to be as fruitful as possible, you should be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day. This is essential because oral bacteria are resilient. Thus, there’s always a new crop of them ready to feed on leftover debris.
Brush Your Teeth Properly
When brushing your teeth, it’s important to use the correct technique so that you can thoroughly clear away debris, avoid damaging the enamel and protect your gums. Here are some tips to implement into your regimen:
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to protect your tooth enamel.
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums when cleaning the front surfaces of your teeth.
- Use gentle pressure and careful back-and-forth movements when cleaning the inner, outer and chewing surfaces.
- To clean the inner surfaces, hold the toothbrush vertically, while making several up-and-down strokes.
- Finish by cleaning your tongue and the roof of your mouth carefully.
Keep in mind, though, that toothbrushing only cleans around 60% of the surfaces of your teeth. To navigate the rest, it’s necessary to use dental floss.
The Right Way to Floss
It all starts by extracting the right amount of floss, which should be around 18 inches. Wrapping each end around your middle finger, only leave an inch or two exposed to clean between your teeth.
As you descend into the tight spaces, it’s best to use a back-and-forth motion until you reach the gum level. Then, shaping the floss like the letter “C,” move it back-and-forth as you slowly ascend to remove the debris. Then, after exposing an unused portion of floss, repeat the process to clean your other teeth.
If you’re always in a time crunch, you can take solace in knowing that to brush and floss correctly only takes a few minutes out of your day.
How Your Dentist Can Help the Cause
The perfect accompaniment to your dental hygiene efforts at home is to visit your dentist semi-annually for cleanings and examinations. These appointments will ensure that any plaque that you may not be able to remove at home can be addressed before it develops into a greater problem, like a cavity or gum disease.
There’s one more thing you should know; everything you’ve learned here is ultimately dependent upon you taking action. So reach out to your local dentist to request a visit today, and commit to maintaining the best in dental hygiene!
About the Author
Dr. Rajiv Shekhadiya is a graduate of New York University. Since entering the dental field, he has maintained a focus on preventive dentistry so that patients don’t have to endure unnecessary and complex dental problems. Dr. Shekhadiya practices at Celebration Family Dental, and he can be reached for more information through his website.