Dental Hygiene Month in New York City
The month of October always starts the anticipation of the various holidays and all the treats and goodies they bring. However, those treats can wreak havoc on your oral hygiene if you're not careful, but October's Dental Hygiene Month may help you maintain your good oral health.
How Does Good Dental Hygiene Impact Me?
Your oral health is inextricably linked to your physical health, so if you want to have good physical health, you need good oral health. You must have good oral hygiene to have good oral health. The tissues in your mouth are very thin, so any substance in your mouth, whether it's nutrients or bacteria, will be transported throughout your body via your bloodstream. This means that the inflammatory bacteria in your mouth will go to your major organs and cause disease. Good oral health can prevent this and keep your body healthier.
How Do I Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?
Maintaining good oral health is easier than you probably think, and it doesn't take much time. When you spend ten minutes daily, you can maintain good oral health if you adhere to the following:
- Brush at least two times each day: Optimally, you should brush each time you have a snack or meal, but that's not always an option, so brush in the morning and before bedtime at a minimum.
- Floss at least one time each day: Although you can floss at any time, the best time is just before bedtime, and that will remove most of the bacteria and food particles from between your teeth. Don't eat or drink anything but plain water after you floss, or you defeat the purpose of flossing.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day: Using an antibacterial mouthwash removes any residual bacteria that brushing and flossing missed, and it provides the freshest breath possible. If you use mouthwash only once each day, use it before bedtime, so you have the fewest bacteria in your mouth while you sleep.
- Annual dental exams and cleanings: You should ideally schedule a dental exam and cleaning at least twice annually, but if that's not an option, be sure to have an annual exam and cleaning at the minimum.
- Brush your tongue as well as your teeth: This may sound unusual, but your tongue's rough surface is the ideal haven for bacteria. Although it may feel odd initially, brushing your tongue can result in significantly fewer bacteria in your mouth.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes total: Visually section your mouth into four parts: the upper left and right, and the lower left and right. Brush each section for at least 30 seconds to receive the maximum benefit from brushing.
- Rinse well: If brushing and flossing after a meal or snack just isn't an option, then be sure to rinse your mouth well with plain water until you can brush and floss. This should not, however, take the place of your regular brushing and flossing routine.
When you maintain a good oral hygiene regimen, you'll have healthier teeth and gums, and your body will be healthier.
Is There a Recommended Way to Brush?
Along with their recommendations on maintaining good oral hygiene, the ADA has recommendations on the best techniques to use when brushing. They are:
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth
- Brush the top and outside surfaces first
- Use short, gentle 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
- Change your toothbrush every three months or immediately after you've been sick
If you have any questions about your oral hygiene regimen or would like to improve it, your dentist can answer all your questions and suggest improvements.
Why Is Flossing So Important?
Flossing is important because dental floss reaches areas that your toothbrush bristles can't, so it removes additional bacteria and food particles. It doesn't matter whether you use traditional dental floss, a flosser, or a floss pick. The important factor is that you floss at least once each day.
Do Rinsing and Mouthwash Really Help?
Although rinsing and using mouthwash shouldn't take the place of your regular hygiene routine, they can help when you can't brush or floss. Rinse your mouth well with plain water for at least 20 seconds to remove as many bacteria and food particles as possible. Then, when it's convenient, use your regular brushing and flossing routine.
Will Chewing Gum Help My Oral Health?
In addition to their recommendations on daily hygiene routines, the ADA states that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack can strengthen tooth enamel while it removes food particles and bacteria that may be lodged in your teeth.
Don't Be a Stranger to Your Dentist
Your dentist is your ally in maintaining the best oral health possible, so make sure you have an appointment at least once each year. Twice each year is better. Even if you have an outstanding oral hygiene regimen, your dentist may be able to spot issues and correct them while they're still minor. Oral cancer is an excellent example of a disease that can be present for years without showing any signs or symptoms. By the time you notice its presence, it has spread. Your dentist can detect the presence of issues such as oral cancer and treat them promptly before they escalate. The incidence of oral cancer is rapidly increasing, and we recommend that all our patients who are 18 and older get screened for it. The screening is painless and non-invasive, and your dentist will screen during the exam.
Do You Need an Appointment in New York City?
If you need a dental appointment in New York City for your annual exam, an oral cancer screening, or any other dental procedure, then call our office at (212)235-1391, and we can help you.
Don't neglect your oral health. Call us today. You'll be glad you made the call.