National Dental Hygiene Month
October is National Dental Hygiene Month – a time to recognize dental hygienists who work hard to create healthy smiles and a time to evaluate our own dental hygiene and care.
You may think you take pretty good care of your teeth, but consider doing these three healthy routines to ensure your smile is as glowing as it can be: brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
If you brush your teeth at least twice a day – congrats! You’re likely maintaining a healthy smile. But have you considered how you brush your teeth? If you are brushing your teeth in a way that could be harmful, it’s almost like not having brushed them at all. Bad brushing habits can be harmful to your teeth in the long run, even if you can’t see the immediate effects. Here are a few tips when brushing:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Use short strokes (about tooth-wide) in back and forth motion
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth – outer, inner, and chewing surfaces.
- Make sure to clean the inner surfaces of your front teeth by tilting your toothbrush vertically and brushing in up and down motions
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria that can linger there and ensure fresh breath
- Never brush too hard – this can cause your enamel to wear down over time
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste for at least 2 minutes
When selecting a toothbrush, it’s important to consider the firmness of the bristles. You don’t want a brush that has bristles that are too hard – in fact, it is recommended that you select a brush with soft bristles so that you aren’t being too abrasive on your teeth. Also, be aware of the size of your toothbrush. You want your brush to be an appropriate size to your age and the size of your teeth.
You can’t have complete oral hygiene until you implement flossing into your daily routine. Flossing helps get rid of bits of food debris that can linger in between and behind teeth, and be hard to remove with just a toothbrush. If these food particles are not removed, this leads to the buildup of plaque and cavities will form. Try to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day before going to bed. This will help remove food particles that have gotten stuck between your teeth during the day.
There are many different types of dental floss, and your dentist or dental hygienist can advise you on what types of floss and brands would be best for you. Visit a dentist for children to be advised on flossing tips for your kids.
Rinsing with mouthwash can further help with excellent oral hygiene by preventing bad breath and even killing bacteria that can lead to bad breath and other concerns. There are two types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes are ones that temporarily relieve bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth. If your mouthwash kills bacteria that causes bad breath, prevents plaque, tooth decay, or gingivitis, it is considered a therapeutic mouthwash. Ask your Chicago dentist what is best for you to use! If you have concerns about what types of mouthwash to use, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Using a mouthwash acts as another layer of defense for your teeth and is a great addition to your dental care routine!
At Brushin’ on Belmont, we care about our patients’ at-home dental care and we are pleased to promote National Dental Hygiene Month to help focus on healthy habits. We offer pediatric, family, and cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic services in the greater Chicago, Illinois area.