It’s officially fall! And with the cooler weather comes Dental Hygiene Month. Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Keeping your smile clean goes a long way towards keeping it healthy. Oral hygiene isn’t just important for your oral health, but also for your self-confidence and bodily health, which makes this month extra important for your overall well-being!
Part of National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrating dental hygienists and how they play a crucial role in keeping your smile clean and cavity-free. So let’s take a closer look at what dental hygienists do and review the best way to keep your smile healthy not just this month, but year-round too!
Celebrating Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are the professionals people typically have the most contact with at the dentist’s office. These are the friendly people who take your information, x-rays, and clean your teeth during your dental appointment.
They also assess your risk for oral disease, including gum disease and tooth decay, and conduct screenings, such as oral cancer screenings, which can help detect any abnormalities that could require treatment. Dental hygienists thoroughly clean your teeth, removing built-up plaque and tartar as well as tooth enamel stains for fresher breath and a brighter smile.
However, dental hygienists don’t just clean your teeth. They help educate patients on their brushing and flossing habits, and make recommendations based on their findings during your exam. Your dental hygienist also takes and reviews dental x-rays and can often apply fluoride treatments and dental sealants based on their training and experience.
These professionals work closely with your dentist in Asheville to identify any potential problems with your teeth and support your oral health. Without dental hygienists, dentists would be overwhelmed keeping up with patients, and your Asheville dental practice wouldn’t run as efficiently!
Encourage Proper Oral Health
National Dental Hygiene Month is also about encouraging proper oral health and making sure people know how to take the best care of their smiles. Your dental hygiene plays an instrumental role in keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life.
The American Dental Association recommends you keep up with your oral health by:
- Brushing twice daily. The best times to brush are first thing in the morning after waking and last thing at night before going to sleep. Ideally, wait one hour after eating before brushing to avoid damage to your tooth enamel. A soft-bristled toothbrush is your best choice for effectively removing plaque while protecting your tooth enamel and gum tissue.
- Flossing once a day. Flossing is necessary for a clean smile, allowing you to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria from places where your toothbrush can’t reach to help prevent cavities and gum disease. Once a day is all that’s needed for proper oral health. Flossing before bed is recommended, but anytime you can floss is fine!
- Eating healthy. A diet of whole foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help support your oral health. Keep your consumption of refined sugar to a minimum to prevent damage to your tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and sensitive teeth.
- Visiting your dentist. Going to your dentist twice a year can prevent most common oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease. Regular teeth cleaning also helps remove surface stains, keeping your smile as bright as possible between visits! Your Asheville dentist or dental hygienist will also conduct an annual oral cancer screening.
Should you brush your tongue when it comes to daily oral care? The answer is yes! Bacteria accumulate on your tongue just like they do on your teeth, so brushing your tongue twice a day just as you brush your teeth can help keep your breath fresh and your smile healthy.
What about mouthwash? Some mouthwashes are therapeutic and specifically prescribed by your dentist for issues such as oral thrush or fluoride rinses for children, so those are, of course, important to use as prescribed.
When it comes to regular mouthwash you can purchase over-the-counter, you can certainly use mouthwash as part of your regular oral care routine. Some can even be helpful for those fighting gum disease, so talk to your dentist in Asheville about whether or not mouthwash can benefit your smile!
Know That Your Smile Is Still Important Even in a Pandemic
Even with everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up with your oral health is still important. While it might feel safer to skip your oral checkups, the opposite is true. Skipping the dentist means plaque can build up on your teeth and cause oral health problems without you being aware of it.
Tooth decay and gum disease typically don’t cause symptoms early on, meaning you might feel like your teeth and gums are fine when really you could have the beginnings of a cavity during your next checkup. Getting regular checkups and cleanings are an investment into your smile that helps prevent issues and protect your future oral health.
Plus, with research linking the health of your teeth and gums to your bodily health, it’s more important than ever to keep your smile healthy. Poor oral health has been shown to affect your immune system, heart, and even cognitive health. While research is still ongoing, taking care of your smile can help you remain in the best health possible!
Our team at Saunders DDS is taking extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize your risk and ensure you feel safe receiving the care you need with us. We welcome your questions or concerns during this challenging time, and encourage you to reach out to us!
We Support Your Oral Hygiene at Saunders DDS
At Saunders DDS, every month is oral hygiene month! Come in and see us for your next appointment. Our friendly team is here to help keep your smile healthy and support your oral hygiene not just in October, but throughout the year. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or request an appointment through our contact form!