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October is a lot of things, like Bat Appreciation Month, National Country Ham Month, and National Toilet Tank Repair Month to name a few. But on a more serious note, it’s also National Dental Hygiene Month. That means an entire month dedicated to learning how to take better care of your oral health. To celebrate, let’s talk about four ways to improve your dental hygiene.
1. Schedule a Cleaning
Ideally, you should get a professional cleaning from a dental hygienist at least once every six months. This can remove built up plaque, a sticky film made of bacteria and food debris. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque, but if you neglect your oral hygiene, plaque can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by your hygienist. Schedule an appointment before the year ends if you haven’t already to get your mouth as clean as can be.
2. Brush and Floss Every Day
Many people brush twice every day, but not for the recommended two minutes each time. Try setting a timer, or get an electric toothbrush that automatically lets you know when two minutes have passed. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria and keep your breath fresh!
Flossing might not be anyone’s favorite activity, but it’s necessary to keep your mouth healthy. It’s the only way to clean two of the five surfaces of your teeth. Moreover, it removes plaque from between your teeth that trap bacteria that cause bad breath. Floss every day before brushing your teeth. This allows the spaces between your teeth to open up and receive the benefits from your fluoridated toothpaste.
3. Don’t Forget Mouthwash
Your teeth and gums actually only make up about half of your mouth, so brushing and flossing alone obviously don’t clean out the entire thing. That’s where mouthwash comes in. Rinsing with mouthwash after brushing and flossing can clean the areas of your mouth that you can’t reach otherwise. Just be sure to avoid mouthwash with alcohol, as it can dry your mouth out, actually making it less clean.
4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
It’s not always possible to whip out your toothbrush or floss at lunchtime. However, the next best thing is chewing sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after a meal. Research has shown that chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the production of saliva. Even though that might sound gross, it’s actually beneficial. Saliva rinses your mouth of excess food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath when left behind. Be sure to pack a stick of sugar-free gum in your lunch if you can.
These tips are great ways to observe National Dental Hygiene Month, but remember to apply them year-round as well.
About the Practice
At Elmbrook Family Dental in Brookfield, WI, our focus is on patient convenience. That’s why we offer early and late appointment times. Our team of five skilled dentists utilizes the latest state-of-the-art dental technology and techniques to deliver the highest quality care that we can. For more questions or to schedule a checkup and cleaning, click here or contact us at (262) 784-7201.