October is National Dental Hygiene Month, an annual initiative to raise awareness of dental health issues.
Dental Hygiene Month was created by the ADA (American Dental Association), and dentists around the country get involved to help spread the word about ways people can improve their oral hygiene and dental health. Brands such as Colgate and Wrigley’s, and organizations such as the American Dental Hygienists Association. participate with their own campaigns to support this important initiative.
The importance of this initiative is huge: 47.2% of American adults over age 30 and 70% of adults over 65 have some form of periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss.
Good oral health can help prevent not only periodontal disease and tooth decay, it is also linked to better overall health. People with good oral hygiene may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Good oral health has also been linked to better control of blood sugar in people with diabetes.
What You Should Know About Good Dental Hygiene
For 2020, the National Dental Hygiene Month campaign focuses on four key actions that help you take care of your teeth, gums and mouth:
- Brushing – Brush your teeth twice a day, following the techniques recommended by your dentist. This includes using a soft-bristled toothbrush that reaches all areas of your teeth and gums and brushing your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- Flossing – Use dental floss to remove bits of food and plaque from the gaps between your teeth. Dentists recommend flossing once per day, just before brushing your teeth.
- Rinsing – Use mouthwash to rinse your mouth out and keep your gums healthy. The best time to use mouthwash is after eating, especially if it contains fluoride, instead of after brushing your teeth.
- Chewing – Chewing gum keeps your breath fresh by encouraging the flow of saliva around your mouth. An increase in saliva can help prevent dry mouth, which causes a number of problems, including accelerated tooth decay. The best time to chew gum is after a meal or any time you want to freshen your breath but don’t have the opportunity to brush your teeth.
Fluoride toothpaste may also help prevent tooth decay, especially in children, teens and adults who have never had a cavity. Fluoride works to strengthen the tooth enamel and protect your teeth from damaging bacteria that causes cavities.
It’s important to remember that good oral hygiene and dental care is a big part of your overall health care. Visit your dentist regularly for exams, cleanings and x-rays, and follow your dentist’s advice on taking care of your teeth.
National Dental Hygiene Month
National Dental Hygiene Month works to raise awareness about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene.
People are encouraged to use the hashtag #DentalHygieneMonth to join the conversation and help promote the campaign on social media. National Dental Hygiene Month is a great opportunity for everyone across the dental health industry to work together with educators and families to improve awareness of the simple dental hygiene techniques that can make a huge difference to oral health.
In addition to National Dental Hygiene Month, dental organizations also promote National Children’s Dental Health Month each February. This campaign focuses particularly on educating children about the benefits of paying attention to their dental health in order to encourage good habits from a young age.
One of the dental clinics lending their support to National Dental Hygiene Month is Patriot Family Dental in Clarksville, Tennessee. Find out more about our practice and all the services we offer.