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Posted on: October 2, 2022
Dental Hygiene Awareness Month is October
This October take a moment to appreciate Dental Hygiene Month!
We all know the mouth is where the process of digestion begins, so it should be obvious strong teeth aid in digestion. By breaking down food into particles as small as possible and stimulating saliva production, the action of chewing allows the body to absorb more of the nutrition in the food it ingests. By contrast, failing to sufficiently break down the food you consume makes it more difficult for the stomach, liver, small intestines, pancreas, and gallbladder to finish the job. That means you get less nourishment and create more waste from what you eat. This in turns makes you need to eat more to achieve the nourishment you need.
In addition to affecting your digestion, however, the strength or weakness of your teeth can also impact your heart, lungs, nervous system, immune system, and more.
The Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Smile
At Forever Family Dental of New Lenox, we recommend our patients commit to the six basic habits of good dental hygiene. They are:
- Brushing twice daily
- Flossing once daily
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Chewing sugarless gum
- Practicing a healthy diet
- Visiting your dentist and dental hygienist once or twice a year
Brush Your Teeth
Brush your teeth twice a day minimum: when you wake up and after you eat dinner. Or, if you’d like, brush three times a day: once after every meal.
Tips and techniques for brushing your teeth:
- Tilt the toothbrush 45 degrees against the teeth.
- Gently move the toothbrush up and down or in small circles and/or up and-down.
- Make sure to brush every surface of your teeth and gums.
- Brush your tongue (both sides) and the roof of your mouth too.
Replace your toothbrush after any time you’re sick. Replace it as well whenever the bristles start to fray or every three months – whichever is first. Unless your New Lenox dentist advises differently, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Brushing your teeth is a foundation of good dental hygiene, but it alone cannot remove all the harmful elements from your mouth. Next comes flossing.
Floss Between Your Teeth
Floss once a day to help remove the bacteria, plaque and food particles trapped in the narrow spaces between your teeth.
The best time to floss between your teeth is before you go to bed. But, if you can’t do it then, doing it any other time of day is better than not doing it at all.
Tips and techniques for flossing between your teeth:
- Use a natural dental floss that doesn’t have any chemical coatings. Natural silk floss is a great choice. But, if nylon floss is all that’s available, use the waxed variety at least.
- When you position the floss in the spaces between your teeth, place it all the way against the gum line before beginning to floss.
- Floss each space four times, first getting the sides of the two teeth framing the space, then bending the floss first one way then the next to get at the fronts and backs of both teeth.
Rinse With Mouthwash
Before brushing and flossing, swish around some antibacterial mouthwash or mouth rinse in your mouth. This will remove any loose bacteria and food particles and kill any remaining bacteria in your mouth.
You can also use mouthwash when you’re unable to brush and floss as you usually would or in between meals when you want your breath smelling extra fresh.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Research sponsored by the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programs found that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following eating helps remove bacteria and food debris from your gums and teeth.
Chewing gum also promotes the production of saliva, which helps control acid buildup from the bacteria in the mouth combining with the sugars in food and drink you consume. Saliva also replenishes vital minerals on the teeth that strengthen their enamel. This, in turn, helps prevent cavities, tooth decay and chipped, cracked and broken teeth.
And, like rinsing with mouthwash, chewing sugarless gum helps instantly freshen your breath.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Foods high in sugar can damage your teeth and gums, as sugar creates a harmful acid that eats away at your teeth and gums when it mixes with the bacteria in your mouth. Processed foods are also similarly bad for your dental health.
A healthy diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat or non-fat dairy, legumes like beans and peas, whole grains and moderate amounts of lean meat and fish.
See Your Dental Hygienist and Dentist Regularly
So far, the habits listed are all daily practices; this next key to good dental hygiene only needs to take place once or twice a year. Seeing your dental hygienist for regular cleanings and your dentist for regular exams helps keep your mouth clean and healthy and helps identify, treat and prevent dental problems.
Through dental cleanings, your dental hygienist can remove any plaque you’ve been unable to remove through daily brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing and any tartar at all, since only a dental professional can remove tartar.
Your dental hygienist will also take any dental x-rays you may need, perform a basic assessment of your dental health to report to your dentist and give you ideas on how you can take even better care of your teeth.
Most of the time you spend in your dentist’s chair will normally be spent with your dental hygienist. That’s why Dental Hygiene Awareness Month gives you the opportunity to show your appreciation for the work your dental hygienist in New Lenox does by setting up your next appointment today.