October is National Dental Hygiene Month

In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, East Madison Dental is providing tips and information about dental hygiene, and offering free fluoride treatments for all patients receiving cleanings during the month of October.

Why is Dental Hygiene Important?

First, let’s start with the basics. Good dental hygiene is important because it is the best defense against tooth decay and other dental issues. By engaging in a daily routine of good dental hygiene, you are helping your mouth to get rid of the build up of bad bacteria that can lead to decay.

When bad bacteria builds up in your mouth, it forms plaque on the enamel, or the thin outer covering of the tooth. This plaque then begins to dissolve the tooth it is on, leading to cavities and eventually decay of the entire tooth. This plaque can also penetrate the gum line, causing gingivitis and other serious gum issues.

Research suggests that the build up of bad bacteria in the mouth, infections and inflammation of the gum, and other oral problems may play a role in the development of more serious health issues such as diabetes, premature birth and low birth weight.  A good dental hygiene routine and seeing your dentist and hygienist twice a year (or more if recommended) are great ways to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

What Can You Do to Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay?

Fortunately, there are many ways to help your mouth fight against bad bacteria. The best place to start is a daily dental hygiene routine. In some cases, starting a routine of good oral hygiene can even reverse tooth decay you may already have. Here is an easy list of steps you can take to maintain good dental hygiene.

The Daily 4: Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew.

The first step in a good dental hygiene routine is engaging in the Daily 4….daily. You probably know already that brushing is important, but the other three–flossing, rinsing and chewing sugarless gum–are just as critical. Here is a quick breakdown of the Daily 4.

  1. Brush: Make sure to brush your teeth for two minutes, two times a day. Brush in a rolling motion over the fronts, backs, and tops of teeth. Don’t forget those pesky molars in the back! Plaque loves to build up on the backs of your teeth, especially in the back of the mouth. For children, it’s best to get them started on a brushing routine early. Make brushing fun by doing it with them, singing a (preferably 2 minute) song that they like while they brush, using a timer, or letting them select their favorite toothbrush and toothpaste.
  2. Floss: Flossing tends to get a bad rap, but it’s actually quick and easy. Make sure to floss once a day, using about 18 inches of floss and sliding it along each tooth to the gum line. Use this guide for a great flossing technique. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t even need to stand in front of the mirror to do it (and can reduce all the mirror splatters!). Here’s a tip: keep floss next to the TV remote so you can floss quickly while you watch TV in the evening before bed.
  3. Rinse: While brushing and flossing keep your teeth clean, rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash will keep your whole mouth clean and free of bad bacteria. Just swish about 2 teaspoons for 30 seconds after you brush to keep your mouth healthy. Ask your hygienist or dentist which rinse is best for you at your next appointment.
  4. Chew: Last but not least, chew sugarless gum after meals and snacks, especially when you can’t brush. Chewing stimulates your saliva glands to produce more, which can fight against bacteria and also helps clean out food particles.

Regular Cleanings with Your Hygienist

A very important part of good dental hygiene is to get your teeth cleaned every six months, or more if your dentist and hygienist recommend it. Your hygienist will be able to remove plaque and tartar build up that may be hard for you to reach, can do fluoride treatments to help prevent cavities and in some cases even reverse tooth decay. Regular visits to the dentist will also ensure early detection of any oral problems such as gum infections or cavities, which will allow you to get the treatment you need before the issue becomes more serious. Comprehensive exams at East Madison Dental also include oral cancer screenings.

At East Madison Dental, your hygienist and dentist will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan and maintenance routine that will keep you smiling (pun intended).

If you have any questions about good dental hygiene, or when you should schedule a cleaning, feel free to contact East Madison Dental at 201-501-8282.