Learn What’s Most Important in Your Personal Dental Care
October is National Dental Hygiene Month! This year, we’re offering patients dental hygiene tips to improve their overall oral health. Your everyday habits can significantly impact your oral health. Learn how to mitigate oral health concerns with easy to follow everyday tips.
- Use Dental Floss.
Perhaps you were taught that flossing is optional or only required on an infrequent basis. A common misunderstanding is that simply brushing your teeth twice a day will suffice. A 2017 survey by the ADA showed that only 16% of Americans report flossing at least once a day. The problem with irregular flossing is that a toothbrush can’t reach into the spaces between the teeth to remove plaque buildup. That’s why for many people, gum disease or cavities can develop in the absence of regular flossing. Decreasing your chances of having cavities can be as easy as a one-minute flossing practice per day. Remember: flossing isn’t just used for removing food; it’s a way of protecting your teeth from bacteria.
- Remove extraneous sugar from your diet. Even if you are a sugar lover, remember that every bit of sugar removed from your diet counts towards improving your overall health. You may not even realize the quantity of added sugar that many “normal” food products contain. Our best tip is to evaluate the sugar content of each product you typically buy. Can you buy an alternative with less sugar? Many foods that are thought to be “healthy,” such as yogurt or fruit juice often contain large amounts of sugar. The presence of sugar in these foods wears on the teeth and takes a toll on your body. By decreasing your sugar intake now, you can drastically reduce your risk of getting a cavity as well as many other long-term conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
- Brush thoroughly.
You may already be in the habit of daily brushing, but are you brushing effectively? A healthy tooth is a clean tooth, which means that brushing should reach every surface of the tooth. You can think of your mouth as being divided into four major sections: the top left, the top right, the bottom left, and the bottom right. Brushing should begin from the gums and extend to the top edge, on both the inside and outside surfaces. Because of the difficult-to-reach nature of the inside surface, we recommend rubbing the brush in a front-to-back motion across the teeth at the bottom of the inside surface. It’s not necessary to brush hard, as this can irritate sensitive gums. Once the outside and inside surfaces are brushed, don’t forget to pass over the chewing surface (where the teeth come together to bite.)
Don’t Forget to Schedule an Annual Appointment
If you have a history of cavities or gum disease, the dentist may recommend biannual cleaning appointments. If not, most people do well with a dental cleaning once a year. While you might imagine that a dental cleaning is unnecessary if you follow the above tips, the truth is professional dental cleanings cannot be substituted by any other means. Regular dental hygiene and trips to the dentist work in tandem to help you to attain the best possible oral health. These visits allow the dentist to detect and address incipient conditions before they can progress.
If you’re looking for a dentist or haven’t made your appointment in some time, we encourage you to reach out to us at Penn Dental Medicine. We offer discounted prices to patients at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Our student dentists, who are completing the final stage of their training, are supervised by our experienced faculty dentists. To make your appointment and boost your dental hygiene habits, please call us at 215-898-8965. We look forward to seeing you soon!