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National Dental Hygiene Month Has Come

woman brushing her teeth

October is a favorite month for many people. They love the fall-flavored treats, the cool weather and, of course, Halloween. However, there’s another group of people that really love this month, and they are dental professionals. That’s because October is also National Dental Hygiene Month!

As you can likely guess, National Dental Hygiene Month is all about increasing awareness about the importance of dental hygiene. The truth is that people don’t take care of their teeth and gums nearly as well as they should. Thus, dentists and hygienists alike use this month as a way to spread awareness about the problem. Also, they provide tips for people to use to improve their oral health.

Improving your oral health routine at home is important, but you can’t do it alone. You still have to schedule regular checkups with your dental hygienist for cleanings twice a year. This is the only way that you can spot problems in your mouth before they manifest into something much larger. For this reason, it’s vital that you don’t neglect visiting your Northern Virginia dentist.

How Do You Improve Your Oral Health?

The first thing that needs to be discussed is your oral health routine. Are you doing everything that you can to improve your oral health? There are likely a few areas of your routine that you can improve upon. Let’s talk a bit about some ways that you can do that.

Time to Brush Your Teeth More

Dentists often ask people how much they brush their teeth and for good reason. Brushing your teeth is the foundation of a good oral care routine. If you’re only brushing your teeth once a day, you have a lot of room for improvement.

Dentists say that people should be brushing their teeth twice a day. When they brush their teeth, they need to do it for at least two minutes each time. An easy way to do this is to break your teeth into four sections, and spend at least 30 seconds cleaning each section of your mouth.

The easiest way to do this is to make one section the top left, another section the top right, the next would be the bottom left and last is the bottom right. This gives you four sections, and cleaning each for 30 seconds adds up to two minutes.

Are you having a hard time keeping up with the time? No worries because there are apps that can help. Make sure that you download an app that allows you to set a timer. You can set the timer to go off every 30 seconds letting you know to switch sections. You could also buy an electric toothbrush that keeps up with the time.

Time to Start Flossing Every Day

You should be flossing your teeth every day. A good time to do it is at night. However, the vast majority of people aren’t flossing their teeth every day. Dentists say that this is a mistake because brushing alone cannot remove plaque, bacteria and food particles from between your teeth like flossing can.

Should you floss with string or with a water flosser? Dentists seem to agree that it doesn’t matter. Apparently, both are good at removing plaque from between your teeth. You should use whichever method you like most. Just be sure that you floss each day.

Remember to Use Mouth Rinse

One thing that people can do to improve their oral care routines is to start using mouth rinse. There are two fairly cheap mouth rinses that you can use to improve your oral health. Let’s discuss the two of them below.

One of them is mouthwash. The great thing about mouthwash is that it’s affordable and does wonders for improving your gum health. When you use mouthwash, it might burn some. The reason is that the tiny amount of alcohol and other ingredients are killing all of the bad bacteria and germs in your mouth.

The other rinse that you should use is fluoride, and it’s recommended that you use it at night. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element, and your teeth use it to become stronger. Using fluoride on a regular basis is the easiest way to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Chew Some Sugar-Free Gum

What if you go out to eat but don’t have your toothbrush handy? What is a good way to clean your teeth until you can brush again? The easiest way is to chew on some sugar-free gum. When you chew on gum, you actually break down the food particles that are usually left on your teeth after eating.

Another way that chewing helps is by improving saliva production in your mouth. Saliva can improve the health of your teeth in two ways. First, it is able to wash away food particles and bad bacteria. Second, your saliva contains minerals that help keep your teeth strong, much like fluoride.

After a meal, grab a piece of sugar-free gum, and chew on it for about 20 minutes. This should give it enough time to break down food particles and increase saliva production. While it’s not a replacement for brushing, it does help in a pinch.

Time to Spread Thanks

Of course, there’s a little more to National Dental Hygiene Month than just improving your oral health. People also use this month as a time to say thank you to all of the dental hygienists that go to school for years to improve your dental health.

Thus, October is a great time to show your thanks. The next time that you go in to see your dentist, take the time to say thank you to your dental hygienists too. They are working just as hard to improve your oral health.

There are roughly 200,000 dental hygienists in the country. Some of the best ones work right here in Northern Virginia. When you come in to get your teeth worked on, you can relax knowing that you are in good hands.

Time for Your Next Cleaning

Has it been a while since you’ve had your teeth cleaned or looked at? If so, it’s time to see us. We’re a dental office located in Northern Virginia. We want to offer people just like you affordable services that they can count on. Reach out to us today, and let us set you up for a dental appointment.

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