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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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woman practicing good hygiene

October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

woman practicing good hygiene

When October appears on the horizon, most of us start thinking about pumpkins, pie, Halloween candy, and holiday treats. However, dentists start thinking about National Dental Hygiene Month and their patients. Good dental hygiene is essential to good physical health, and a good dental hygiene routine is essential for good dental health. Call our office to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions about how to improve your dental hygiene routine.

How Does Oral Health Impact Physical Health?

The membranes in your mouth are very thin, so anything that’s in your mouth, whether nutrients or bacteria, can easily pass through the membranes and enter the bloodstream. Once there, your circulatory system carries it throughout your body, including to your major organs. Since bacteria are inflammatory, any that are in your mouth can begin an infection or disease in any part of your body. Poor dental health has been linked to many diseases, such as dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. So, if you want to live your best and longest life, then maintaining good oral hygiene is a must.

Can My Dentist Help Me Stay Healthy?

 Absolutely! Although most of us contact our primary care physician for health issues, your dentist can help you eliminate some of your health issues by recommending the best oral hygiene for your needs. Although some oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, are universal, your unique physiology and lifestyle can benefit from specialized procedures. For instance, if you have weak tooth enamel, a topical treatment may be able to strengthen it, and a prescription toothpaste may help if you’re prone to cavities. However, your New Haven dentist will have recommendations specifically for your needs.

What Are Some Universal Tips for Good Dental Hygiene?

 The American Dental Association recommends the following universal guidelines for maintaining good oral health:

  • Brush at least twice daily, especially just before bedtime
  • Floss at least once daily, preferably just before bedtime
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day
  • Get an annual dental checkup and teeth cleaning; semi-annual is better

Always make sure that your dental hygiene items carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re using a quality product. The key to good dental hygiene is discipline and consistency. It may be tempting to skimp or skip when you’re running late or you’re exhausted, but don’t give in to the temptation.

Your total brushing time should be at least two minutes every time you brush. Each quadrant of your mouth – upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left – should be brushed for at least 30 seconds. Use gentle pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing faster or with more intensity will not help, so avoid the temptation to brush quickly and be finished.

Do You Have Tips for Effective Brushing?

The following six steps for effective brushing can help you achieve the maximum benefit from brushing your teeth:

  1. Keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth
  2. Use gentle pressure with gentle, back-and-forth strokes
  3. Brush the outer surfaces first, starting with your upper teeth
  4. Hold your toothbrush vertically to brush the inner surfaces of your teeth
  5. Brush your tongue to remove the maximum number of bacteria
  6. Change your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick

Although it may feel strange to brush your tongue, it’s an excellent addition to your brushing routine. Your tongue’s rough surface can harbor a substantial number of bacteria, and brushing your tongue can remove them.

You should brush and floss immediately before bedtime and don’t consume anything but plain water afterward. Otherwise, you’ll defeat the purpose of brushing and flossing. This is also a good time to use an antibacterial mouthwash, so you have the cleanest mouth possible while you sleep.

Are There Other Tips for Good Dental Health?

 Flossing

Using dental floss at least once daily is essential for the best dental health possible. It doesn’t matter whether you use traditional floss, a flosser, or a floss pick, as long as you floss. Dental floss reaches areas that are inaccessible to your toothbrush, so it removes food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush missed. Be sure to floss at least once each day.

Rinsing and mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth and using mouthwash are excellent additions to your oral hygiene regimen. An antibacterial mouthwash can remove residual bacteria that your other procedures missed, so you’ll have the cleanest and freshest mouth possible. It can also help prevent gum disease.

Chewing

No, we’re not referring to tobacco products. The American Dental Association recommends chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal or snack to promote the flow of saliva and remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth. Sugar-free gum can also strengthen your tooth enamel, so it can be an excellent addition to your oral hygiene regimen.

Use Your Dentist

 Your New Haven dentist is your strongest ally in maintaining good oral hygiene, so use their years or decades of training and experience to the fullest. Ask them for recommendations for improving your oral hygiene regimen and follow their suggestions. Make sure you schedule a dental exam and cleaning at least once yearly. Twice yearly is better if you can because no matter the quality of your dental hygiene routine, things can happen. Some dental issues can be present without symptoms, but your dentist can notice anomalies before they escalate.

Oral cancer is an excellent example. There are no symptoms until the disease has spread, and the incidence of oral cancer is rising quickly. Therefore, we recommend that all our patients who are at least 18 get screened for oral cancer. The screening is painless and non-invasive, and your dentist will conduct it during your exam.

Need a Dental Appointment?

 If you need a dental appointment for your annual checkup, an oral cancer screening, or any other dental procedure, then call Long Wharf Dental Group at (203) 764-2386, and we can help you. Live your best and longest life with good dental and physical health.

Call our New Haven office today. You’ll be glad you did.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386

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