National Dental Hygiene Month is observed every October to celebrate the work of dental hygienists and raise awareness of the importance of good oral health. An essential component to our overall wellbeing, good oral hygiene is one building block of a healthy lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oral diseases, which range from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer, cause debilitating pain for millions of Americans every year. Protecting your oral health by practicing good oral hygiene can substantially increase the likelihood of keeping your teeth for a lifetime. Below are tips for great oral health.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is what protects teeth from tooth decay and cavities. It prevents decay by strengthening the tooth’s hard outer surface, called enamel.
- Angle your toothbrush bristles toward the gumline allowing them to clean between the gums and teeth.
- Brush all the sides of each of your teeth gently, using small, circular motions, and avoid back and forth scrubbing.
- Brush your tongue.
- Use a string of floss about two feet long. Wrap it around the middle finger of each hand and grip it between your thumb and index fingers.
- Ease the floss gently between your teeth until it reaches the gumline (don’t force the floss into place as this could harm the gums). Curve the floss like the letter “C” around the side of each tooth. Slide the floss up and down under the gum.
If you are experiencing challenges with your oral health, please contact your healthcare provider. For additional resources and information on dental hygiene, visit the CDC's Basics of Oral Health website.