Since there are only 12 months in a year, some months have overlapping themes or issues. For example, you might know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. But, did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene month?
The focus of this year’s National Dental Hygiene Month is on developing or maintaining good oral care habits. Whether you’re a regular brusher and flosser or have fallen a bit behind in the mouth care department, the month of October is the ideal time for getting your oral care in gear, especially since the upcoming fall and winter holidays can spell disaster for your teeth and gums. Make the most of Dental Hygiene Month with these tips.
Schedule an Appointment With Your Dentist
It’s easy to fall out of the habit of seeing a dentist for twice a year exams and cleaning. But, if you have a history of gum disease or of any other problems with your teeth, seeing a dentist regularly is very important. Regular visits to your dentist can mean that a small problem, such as gingivitis, is caught before it turns into a much bigger problem, such as periodontal disease. If you have a history of gum disease, you might want to make the time to schedule an appointment with your periodontist this month, too, just to make sure everything is still well with your mouth.
Visiting the dentist can be an uncomfortable experience for some patients, which might be why you’ve avoiding scheduling your appointment. If you are worried about what a visit to the dentist’s chair will bring, consider looking for a dentist who offers sedation dentistry or find out if your current provider offers it. Sedation dentistry can mean that you finally get the oral care you need without the stress or worry.
Recommit to Regular Brushing and Flossing
Healthy oral care habits begin at home and you can use National Dental Hygiene month as an excuse to check in with your oral care routine. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice every day, for at least two minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste. Toothpastes that don’t have fluoride might give you minty fresh breath and might remove food bits and debris from your teeth and gums, but they don’t offer the same level of cavity protection, as they don’t harden the enamel.
Flossing is often where even the people who are most diligent about brushing their teeth tend to fall down. Admittedly, flossing is a bit more intimidating that brushing. It involves pulling out a length of special string, then threading that string between your teeth, without snapping it or putting too much pressure on the gums. Your dentist can demonstrate the best way to floss at your appointment.
It’s usually recommended that you try to floss once a day. But, if you have a history of gum disease, you might find that it’s helpful to floss more often. In some cases, flossing each time you brush provides the most benefit.
Rethink the Halloween Candy
National Dental Hygiene month comes at an opportune time. It’s just before Halloween and the start of the fall and winter holiday season, when there tends to be plenty of snacks, sweets and drinks that can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. This year, you might consider committing to avoiding sweets such as chocolate and sticky candy, as well as snacks that can damage your teeth, such as crunchy potato chips and popcorn kernels.
While you want to pass on good oral care habits to your kids, it can be hard to do so in the face of a bag of Halloween candy. Instead of keeping your children from trick or treating or confiscating their candy the minute they get home, limit them to one treat a day for about a week.
That way, they can still enjoy the holiday, without destroying their teeth. Have your kids brush and floss after they enjoy the candy, to get them in the habit of doing so. You can donate the leftover candy if you want or keep it and use it as prizes for your kids throughout the year.
Miami periodontists Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas encourage you to keep up your mouth care habits throughout the year. Whether it’s National Dental Hygiene Month or not, they encourage you to make an appointment with your dentist or periodontist is anything is bothering you with your teeth or gums. To schedule an appointment at their Miami practice, call (305) 447-1447 today.