chatOctober always reminds us of pumpkin-shaped candies and caramel apples, but it is also National Dental Hygiene Month, and this year’s theme is “Start the Conversation”.

“Start the Conversation” simply reminds us how important it is to speak with our dental hygienists and ask questions.

So let’s start the conversation by taking a look at the basics of dental hygiene.

What Are the Recommendations for Daily Dental Hygiene?

Dentists & hygienists recommend what is commonly called the “Daily 4”.
  • Step 1: Brushing. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Step 2: Flossing. Despite what you may have read in recent news, flossing is still an important part of dental hygiene and should not be skipped. The ADA recommends flossing between meals at least once a day.
  • Step 3: Rinsing. Using mouthwash once a day can provide additional protection from plaque and tooth decay.
  • Step 4: Chewing. Chewing sugar-free gum can increase the flow of saliva in your mouth which can also strengthen the teeth and reduce the chances of tooth decay.

Following the Daily 4 is the foundation, but they cannot replace the need for regular checkups by a professional.

Regular exams by your dentists are still needed to diagnose and treat dental issues in an early stage. A dental professional would also be able to recognize symptoms of other health issues such as gum disease, oral cancer, diabetes and others.

Prevention Starts with Good Dental Hygiene

We all enjoy foods and drinks that may be higher in sugar or acidity, causing damage to the enamel on our teeth and forming plaque. Without proper dental hygiene, the plaque gets harder and becomes tartar which can irritate and inflame the gums, causing gingivitis at first, and later periodontal (gum) disease.

Tooth decay also becomes a concern as it can cause cavities, abscesses, tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw.

All these issues listed can be prevented though by following the recommendations above.  It all begins with practicing good dental hygiene.

If you’re ready to “Start the Conversation” with your dental hygienist or local dentist, make the appointment now. If you’re looking for a dentist, find someone you are comfortable speaking with about your concerns.