October isn’t only spooky season and Breast Cancer Awareness month; it’s also known as National Dental Hygiene Month! With about 90% of Americans having had a cavity by age 21 and half of them experiencing some form of gum disease, encouraging good oral health continues to be essential. So, if you want to crack down on maintaining healthy pearly whites, you’ll need to consider adopting a few habits and techniques. Read on to learn five oral hygiene tips for taking care of your smile!
Tip #1: Brush Your Teeth Before Bedtime
After a long day, you might be tempted to simply flop on your bed and sleep without cleaning your teeth. However, this may allow debris, food particles, and bacteria to settle in your mouth. If left unchecked, they can begin to eat away at your enamel and cause damage to your gums. This can quickly increase your risk of developing cavities and other serious oral health issues, such as periodontal disease.
Tip #2: Floss Daily or After Every Meal
While brushing allows you to scrub the majority of your visible teeth, it won’t be able to address the hard-to-reach areas of your smile. To thoroughly clean your mouth, you’ll need to pick up or maintain the habit of flossing between your pearly whites. This is where food particles and bacteria can collect the most. If you find flossing to be too difficult, you might consider using a pre-threaded floss or a water flosser as an alternative method.
Tip #3: Remember to Clean Your Tongue
Did you know the health of your tongue is just as important as the condition of your teeth and gums? After all, it takes up a large portion of your mouth and is a major factor in the state of your breath. Be sure to use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to carefully clean it from back to front. Doing so can preserve your oral health and help you maintain a fresh breath.
Tip #4: Pick Healthier Food Options
The food you eat is crucial for both your oral and overall health. On top of practicing a solid dental hygiene routine, make sure to not overindulge in sugary content. Instead, stick to a diet consisting of nutrient-dense and vitamin-rich foods, such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and dairy products!
Tip #5: Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months
Scheduling your biannual dental checkups and cleanings is one of the most important ways to preserve healthy teeth. Your dentist will be able to assess your teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral tissues to ensure there aren’t any signs of developing concerns. If there are, they can provide the necessary treatment to stop dental health problems ahead of time, such as cavities and gum disease.
October is the perfect time to revisit your teeth cleaning routine and improve your oral habits for a better smile. Talk to your dentist if you need any help or have further questions, and they’ll be more than happy to help!
About the Author
Dr. Larry C. Young earned his dental degree from the Georgetown University School of Dentistry. He’s also a member of several groups like the Northeast District Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. He offers a wide selection of high-quality services, including dental checkups/cleanings, periodontal therapy, and fluoride treatment. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call 904-731-9833.