October is National Dental Hygiene Month, a time when everyone should be examining their dental care habits to make sure that they are doing all they can to keep their mouths clean and their teeth healthy. For example, when was the last time you went to the dentist? If the answer is longer than six months ago, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people see their dentists twice a year for a check-up and cleaning.
In honor of this month, let’s look at some of the best tips for how to keep your mouth healthy.
Brush twice a day– While this may sound like the most basic dental rule, a survey conducted by Crest and the ADA found that one in five Americans do not brush their teeth twice a day. You should be brushing in the morning to combat bacteria that has been festering in the mouth all night. Then, you need to brush again at night to get rid of leftover food particles from what you’ve eaten throughout the day. Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to brush after every meal, since cleaning the teeth too often can wear away tooth enamel.
Floss– Do you floss every day? If so, you probably have better dental health than half of the U.S. According to the Crest and ADA survey, only 49 percent of Americans floss once a day and 10 percent say that they never do. People who don’t floss are allowing bits of food to stay in between their teeth for the bacteria in their mouths to feast on, since normal brushing can’t always reach these spots.
Skip that snack– If you work in an office with candy jars sitting on many people’s desks, it’s important that you try to avoid constantly snacking on these sugary treats. When you eat throughout the day, you’re constantly exposing your teeth to sugars and acids that can damage them. If you do indulge, make sure to drink plenty of water.
Don’t sip– Most dentists will tell you to avoid sodas and sugary beverages, and they’re correct. These drinks can erode tooth enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to the effects of cavity-causing bacteria. However, in life, there are many parties and social gatherings where sugary drinks are served, and the temptation may get the better of us on occasion. If you are going to have a soda, then be sure to drink it all in one sitting – don’t sip on it throughout the course of the night. Also, try to find a straw to reduce the amount of contact the liquid has with your teeth.
Teach your children– Finally, National Dental Hygiene Month should serve as a time to educate both children and adults about how to properly care for their teeth. The Crest and ADA survey showed that one in four parents say that their children do a “fair” or “poor” job caring for their teeth. Weve got some fun dental activities for kids to teach them the importance of oral health.
Let us know your dental health tips in the comments below!