As people across the country are stocking up on candy and putting together costumes this month, the Drs. Boyd are busy celebrating another important date. It’s the seventh straight year that the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program are putting on this campaign to celebrate dental hygienists and also to raise awareness about dental health. October is National Dental Hygiene Month! We want to start the conversation about dental hygiene, too. We have to ask… have you scheduled your 6-month cleaning and checkup – and are you doing the daily four?
Importance of Six-month Cleaning and Checkup
Taking care of your teeth means more than brushing and flossing. For complete care, it’s important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular checkup and professional cleaning. Oral health care advances allow for a more customized and tailored approach to each person’s individual situation. People with a high risk of dental disease might need to visit every three or four months, or more. This high-risk group includes: smokers; pregnant women; diabetics; people with current gum disease; people with a weak immune response to bacterial infection; and people who tend to get cavities or build up plaque.
Thanks to advances in molecular medicine, genetics and other areas of research in oral health care, dentistry is being transformed from a system of treating disease in a one-size-fits-all manner to one that provides predictive, proactive, preventive and personalized care. Your Dr. Boyd dentist will advise you of how often you need to come in for a cleaning and checkup.
Do the Daily Four for Better Oral Health
You already know what the daily four are — but are you really doing them every single day? Brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and chewing xylitol containing gum are all crucial aspects of good dental hygiene.
#1: Brush Like You Know You Should
Everyone knows regular brushing is crucial for good dental health. Are you brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day? Brush gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste. If you have difficulty hitting the two-minute mark every time, try setting a timer until you’re used to what it feels like. Or, even better, invest in an electric toothbrush that comes with a self-timer. Focus on each quadrant for 30 seconds each, cleaning in soft, circular motions. Remember that aggressive brushing can injure the gums and cause them to recede.
#2: Floss Every Single Day
Yes, flossing is still on the list despite last month’s news that flossing may not be all that necessary. The truth is regular flossing just makes sense. It’s the only way to rid your mouth of the bacteria and food particles that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Floss gently, between each tooth, at least once a day for optimal tooth and gum health. Do you need a refresher on proper flossing techniques? Check out the American Dental Association’s video on good flossing.
#3: Rinse With Mouthwash
Your teeth are only part of your mouth, and they actually make up less than half of your oral cavity. Kill bacteria and prevent it from developing on the tongue and around the gums by rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash. Choosing a rinse that is fortified with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and provides an extra boost of protection against cavities. You and your Drs. Boyd dentist can discuss which mouthwash formula is best for your unique teeth.
#4: Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Popping a piece of xylitol containing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks is an excellent complement to any good dental hygiene routine. Chewing gum ups the flow of saliva in your mouth, which cleans the surface of teeth and neutralizes the acidity of the bacteria in the mouth. In short? Keep a pack of gum in your bag or briefcase for healthier teeth and gums.
Do you have questions about how often to schedule your cleanings, the daily four, or anything else related to your dental and oral health? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Drs. Boyd. Our team is here to help you enjoy a happy, healthy smile for years to come! Contact our office to talk more today.