October Is Dental Hygiene Month

Calendar that says "dentist appointment" with toothbrush and open toothpaste beside it.

October is Dental Hygiene Month, which is a great reminder to evaluate your brushing and flossing habits and schedule a dental checkup. While our teeth are the strongest substance in our bodies, they can deteriorate from tooth decay. Brushing, flossing and having a deep cleaning performed at the dentist can keep your teeth plaque and decay-free, plus it keeps your breath fresh. Committing to this oral hygiene regimen will keep your teeth healthy and strong for years to come. Celebrate Dental Hygiene Month by putting your oral health first and scheduling a dental checkup!

Understanding Tooth Decay

October is Dental Hygiene Month, and its initiative is meant to encourage kids, teenagers and adults everywhere to protect their oral health by regularly brushing, flossing and meeting with their dentist. Dental hygiene is an important concept for anyone with teeth (i.e. everyone!) to know, especially as it plays such a huge role in oral health. Having good dental hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing your teeth, helps prevent tooth decay, which occurs when your tooth enamel is destroyed. Tooth decay is often referred to as cavities, which form when the outer layer of the tooth (enamel) is eaten away by plaque until holes form within the tooth. Cavities often develop in children, but adults can suffer from them, as well. Eating foods and candies high in sugar is usually the main reason why patients develop tooth decay as the bacteria in these foods produce acid that attacks the enamel, but inefficient dental hygiene routines contribute to decay, too. This October, we want to help patients everywhere understand the importance of committing to a good dental hygiene regimen to safeguard their oral health. The following tips and tricks will help you keep a healthy, happy and disease-free mouth for years to come.

Importance of Brushing and Flossing

Before we get into the nitty gritty of dental hygiene, it’s essential that your first priority (when it comes to oral health) should be to brush and floss your teeth every day. Our mouths are full of bacteria from the foods and drinks we consume, and when we don’t brush our teeth, plaque forms. The longer plaque sits on your teeth, the more acid is produced that eats at your enamel. Not only that, but when your gums have plaque sitting on them for too long, they can actually become infected with gingivitis. Brushing and flossing your teeth each day not only cleans your teeth from decay-causing plaque but keeps your gum tissues healthy, as well. However, it’s important to know HOW to brush and floss your teeth to get the best results. To begin, make sure your toothbrush is at a 45-degree angle when brushing. Move the toothbrush back and forth along each tooth, especially along the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Tilt the toothbrush vertically and scrub in an up-and-down motion when cleaning behind your teeth, and don’t forget to brush your tongue. When flossing, pull the flossing between two adjacent teeth and slide it up and down to remove leftover plaque and tartar that brushing missed. Curve the floss around each tooth and floss below the gumline to remove anything stuck there. Make sure to use clean sections of floss when flossing and be careful not to push or pull too hard or you’ll damage your gums. 

How A Dental Checkup Protects Oral Health

Close up of woman with mouth open at the dentist while the dentist cleans her teeth.

The first step in your dental hygiene routine should be to brush and floss your teeth each day, and the next step should be to meet with your dentist often for your biannual cleanings. Dental checkups will not only deep clean your teeth and gums, but it also gives you the chance to speak with your dentist about any areas of concern in your mouth. Your dentist will check your bite patterns, perform an oral cancer screening, apply fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and polish your teeth so that they shine. He/she will also discuss with you good brushing and flossing patterns that you should implement into your daily routine and determine how often you should come in for a dental cleaning. The cleaning itself uses ultrasonic tools to remove tartar (a hardened form of plaque) and smooth tooth surfaces so that your teeth look and feel good. Depending on your needs, dental X-rays may be taken to check your bone health and measure the depth of your gingival pockets. While comprehensive, dental checkups help prevent disease from forming by assessing early stages of buildup and removing it so that decay can’t form. 

Celebrate Dental Hygiene Month With A Dental Checkup!

At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, your oral health is our priority. Celebrate Dental Hygiene Month by scheduling a dental checkup with us and getting your teeth cleaned. Having good dental hygiene habits will keep your teeth healthy for the long run and help you avoid painful cavities and decay. Call our office today at (970) 223-8425 to schedule your next cleaning and give your oral health a boost!