October can rightly be considered the start of “sweets season.” From pumpkin spice lattes to delicious candy treats, there are plentiful opportunities to indulge in yummy treats. In November and December, customary celebrations present even more chances to delight your tastebuds. Given that most people eat more sweets than usual at this time of year, it is only fitting that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month. Paying extra attention to how you care for your teeth can prevent them from incurring damage! Here are a few tips to help you maintain a clean and healthy smile:
1. Brush Your Teeth Every Evening
You should brush your teeth for two minutes every morning and every evening. However, if you can only brush once a day, it is better to do it at night. That’s because you produce less saliva while you sleep, which means that any food particles that are in your mouth when you go to bed will have a greater opportunity to cause damage.
2. Be Determined to Floss
Brushing only cleans about 60% of your teeth’s surfaces. Flossing is essential for cleaning the tight spaces between them! You should floss at least once a day using proper technique. If you aren’t sure how to floss properly, your dental hygienist would be happy to coach you during your next preventive dentistry appointment.
3. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Without proper cleaning, your tongue can easily accumulate bacteria and food particles between the papillae (the tiny bumps on your tongue). As a result, you could begin to suffer from chronic bad breath and other problems. You can clean your tongue by running your toothbrush over it from back to front. You could also use a tongue scraper, a small and inexpensive device that is designed exclusively for removing debris from the tongue.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Water encourages saliva production and removes harmful bacteria and food particles from the mouth. It is best to drink plain water (rather than sparkling or flavored water). Make sure to sip some water after each meal and throughout the day.
5. Consider Using Mouthwash
There are many different types of mouthwashes on the market. Some of them have purely cosmetic benefits (such as freshening the breath or removing surface stains on the teeth), while others have significant oral health benefits. Your dentist might recommend a specific product to prevent tartar formation or fight gum disease.
Do you see room for improvement in your oral hygiene routine? Now is the best time to make needed adjustments, especially since we are heading into the end-of-year sweets season.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Ben A. Sutter is a highly accomplished dentist with many years of experience in general practice. He is a strong advocate of preventive care and is always happy to share his knowledge with patients. If you would like to learn more about how you can care well for your teeth during National Dental Hygiene Month and beyond, he would be happy to speak with you. Contact our office at 541-683-7500.