October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and even though the McCarl Dental Group team celebrates good oral health and hygiene all year round, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating this national awareness month by making a little more time for your dental care. In this blog, you’ll receive the top three tips to keep your smile healthy during National Dental Hygiene Month and all year long from Dr. Clayton McCarl.
1 – Brush Teeth Every Day
The meal you’re eating in the present doesn’t cause cavities or gum disease. It’s the stuck on food particles from yesterday’s (or last week’s) meals that wreak havoc on your oral health. For this reason, it’s essential that you keep your teeth clean every day. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning and evening) for at least two minutes at a time. To maximize your tooth brushing routine, keep the following tips in mind:
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing too hard, which can cause excessive enamel wear or soft tissue damage over time
- Brush using short, quick back and forth motions rather than big circles
- Brush systematically by concentrating on one area at a time covering the front, back, and biting surface of each tooth to avoid missing areas
- Brush about 30 minutes after meals in addition to morning and evening brushing to further protect teeth
2 – Floss Daily
Even if you brush every morning and evening and between meals, you still won’t be cleaning every surface of your teeth. The gaps between teeth are ideal spaces for sticky, acidic plaque, which is a substance produced by oral bacteria as they digest the foods we eat. When plaque accumulates between teeth, the acidity softens tooth enamel and damages soft tissue. Daily flossing is the best way to remove plaque from these areas and prevent damage to teeth and gums.
3 – Use a Water Flosser
This one may be especially relevant for older patients. Have you ever heard the saying “long in the tooth,” to refer to a senior person? This old saying is referencing the recession of gum tissue. As we age, gums and the soft tissue connections between teeth and gums can be damaged and begin to recede, causing our teeth to appear longer. Thanks to modern preventive dentistry, this is usually less severe, but it’s still a pretty common occurrence, especially for those who have struggled with gum disease. To make sure bacteria and plaque aren’t accumulating at the gum line and in the pockets between teeth and gums, you may want to consider investing in a water flossing tool. These oral hygiene products may be called oral irrigators or hydroflossers, or they may be referred to by the brand name WaterPik. Whatever you call them, these devices use high pressure water to gently clean between teeth and around the gum line.
Bonus Dental Hygiene Tip – Visit McCarl Dental Group in Greenbelt Twice a Year!
Your everyday dental hygiene routine is essential, and this will prevent the majority of oral health concerns. However, you still need to visit the McCarl Dental Group in Greenbelt at least two times each year for dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings. These preventive dental exams give our team members the opportunity to carefully assess your smile for signs of developing oral health concerns and address them right away in the earliest and most treatable stages. Professional cleanings remove hardened plaque, called tartar or calculus, that can’t be removed with regular brushing and flossing at home. When combined with good daily hygiene, biannual visits with our dental team will leave you with a beautiful smile for life. Get started today by calling our Greenbelt dental office. We look forward to hearing from you.