October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

4 Smile Tips for National Dental Hygiene Month

Image via ADHA.org

Share the “Do The Daily 4” Tips In National Dental Hygiene Month & Every Day

Aside from one of the favorite holidays for dentists – Halloween coming at the end of the month – October also features two other occasions to help raise awareness for oral health – National Dental Hygiene Month being one, and National Orthodontic Health month being the other.

More on how a straigher smile = a healthy smile later, for now let’s help spread some awareness about dental hygiene.

What Is National Dental Hygiene Month?

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company have once again teamed up to help raise public awareness about good oral health during National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM).

2015 marks the sixth consecutive year the ADHA & Wrigleys have teamed up to spread the dental hygiene & oral health awareness message.

Their combined efforts this year highlight the four main components of good oral health maintenance, dubbed: “Do The Daily 4.

The four pillars of National Dental Hygiene Month are:

  1. Brushing Your Teeth 2x per Day
  2. Daily Flossing
  3. Rinsing with Mouthwash
  4. Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

Dental hygienists are on the front lines of our battle with the cavity creeps, and sometimes we forget how much our trusted RDH’s help educate dental patients on the importance of regular dental visits and essential at-home oral health care.

Not that October should be the only month we appreciate our dental hygienists – or pay lose attention to oral health – but if you see your hygienist this month, be sure to pass along an extra special thank you for the diligent defense of your teeth & gums!

Do The Daily 4” Tenets of National Dental Hygiene Month – Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew

1. Brush for 2 Minutes, 2 Times a Day

The single most important thing we can do is to brush our teeth for two minutes, twice each day. Proper brushing reduces plaque, prevents cavities, and help limit the onset of gum disease.

Here are some links from the ADHA.org to help you find out more about how to brush your way to a healthier smile and mouth.

Proper brushing technique
Tips on brushing
Tooth brushing tips for caregivers of older adults

2. Floss EVERY DAY

Do you floss every day?

By flossing each day, we effectively remove the plaque causing food particles that our toothbrushes just can’t reach – under the gumline and in between teeth. If we “forget” to floss each day we’re just inviting the cavity creeps to post up and stake their claim by allowing the sticky gum disease-causing plaque to buildup in those spots regular brushing misses.

Neglecting to floss every day can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other systemic overall health issues. In addition, by simply flossing every day we can limit the dangers to our wallets by maintaining preventative dental care as opposed to more expensive dental work to treat problems that could have been identified earlier – at significantly less cost.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Ben Franklin

The ADHA website brings up an interesting point, if you resist flossing, try to determine why and tell your dental hygienist. Knowing the precise reason you are not flossing will enable them to recommend floss with the right thickness, coating or filaments so you might be encouraged to floss more often. Here are some additional education information sources and resources to assist in making sure to floss each day.

Proper flossing technique
Text 2 Floss – A partnership between ADHA and the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Text2Floss is a one-week interactive educational tool meant to help people develop positive oral hygiene habits through the use of mobile technology.
Flossing for oral health
Flossing and interdental cleaning tips

3. Rinse with Mouthwash

The ADHA recommends finishing your daily oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Swish, gargle, spit – this should be one of the easiest things we can do to ensure the long-lasting health of our teeth and gums.

Rinsing with an anti-microbial mouth rinse each day is another important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis). If you’re unsure about which type of mouthwash is best for you, simply ask your dental hygienist – you can call your local dental office with questions even if you don’t have an upcoming appointment!

Here are some links from the ADHA highlighting the proper use of mouthwash.

Journal of Dental Hygiene supplement on anti-microbial mouth rinses
For dental hygienists: Online continuing education course for the supplement

4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Remember when chewing gum was actually bad for our teeth and gums?

It still is if we’re chomping down on super sweet sugar cubes of gummy deliciousness, but chewing gum has come a long way since those days.

Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health. The action of chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay — saliva — which in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles.

So stoke up the saliva production and help your body naturally fight against tooth decay by chewing sugar-free gum after meals!

How Can Patients Get Involved In National Dental Hygiene Month?

Support your local dental hygienists!

Check out this contest hygienists around the country are taking part in, we’ll bet there are some pretty creative ways you can help your dental hygienist take the crown…

Snap a Selfie with the NDHM Poster – and You Could Win $150!

This year’s “Capture a Candid” contest encourages dental hygienists to take a picture of themselves, their colleagues, their community – anyone who is committed to improving oral health – and the NDHM poster in the most unique, non-operatory setting. Be sure to highlight the Daily 4 regimen of brush, floss, rinse and chew, share your photo with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and include the #NDHM2015 hashtag with your submission.

Check out the NDHA social media sites for more information!

ADHA on FacebookADHA on InstagramADHA on Twitter

Or, reach out to us on your favorite social media…

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