National Dental Hygiene Month

tube of toothpaste

National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) has been observed every October since 2009 when it was launched to celebrate the work of dental hygienists and raise awareness of the importance of good oral health. “An essential component to our overall wellbeing, good oral hygiene is one building block of a healthy lifestyle.” The focus is on preventative oral health. Routine teeth cleanings aren’t just for cosmetic reasons. They can affect total body health. Good oral health is important and can be assisted by taking the following three steps in a regular oral health routine. This routine can have a significant impact on oral and overall health.

1. BRUSH: The magic number is “2.” Tooth brushing for two minutes, two times a day helps reduce biofilm and prevent cavities, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and related diseases. During the 2 minutes, each of the 4 quadrants of the teeth should be brushed for 30 seconds. Brushing one’s tongue is also very important as bacteria grows there easily.

2. FLOSS: It removes biofilm and food particles that cannot be reach by a toothbrush. Some news coverage about flossing says there is a lack of research to support the importance of flossing. Because dental professionals still think it is important, they say more research needs to be done to prove that this technique IS important in daily tooth care.

3. RINSE: Doing so with an antimicrobial alcohol-free mouth wash helps to eliminate biofilm and bacteria that have been missed with brushing and flossing. This is important since teeth take up less than ½ of one’s mouth and other areas of the mouth need to be cared for too. Mouthwash can also help to eliminate bad breath.

It is important to remember that what is learned in this article or on the website is information that should be confirmed with your own dentist or dental hygienist. Individual care and decision making about your teeth by someone who knows your dental health is paramount.