With October upon us, we’d like to remind our patients that October is National Dental Hygiene Month. As we celebrate our terrific team who help to keep your teeth and gums healthy (while making each visit a pleasure!), we would also like to take this opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of good oral health.
Although the ‘gold standards’ of good oral hygiene at home may seem rather basic, they ARE effective and DO make a difference. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, thorough rinsing and keeping your mouth moist are easy ways to prevent problems from occurring (and avoiding or minimizing the associated time and expense for repairs).
Karen, your Dental Hygienist, remind you…
• When brushing, move your toothbrush gently in circular motions over all sides of the tooth. When finished, brush your tongue to remove embedded oral bacteria, which also helps to freshen your breath.
• If flossing is difficult for you, consider a water flosser. These have been shown to be just as effective as traditional flossing and are easier for those who have manual dexterity issues.
• Keeping oral bacteria levels to a minimum help you to avoid the accumulation of plaque. Bacterial plaque and can build up on your teeth and eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually lead to infection that can damage to your jawbone and support structures. This can also lead to tooth loss.
• Because teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth, thorough rinsing can help eliminate biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Rinsing often, along with brushing and flossing, can lower your risk for dental decay and oral infection.
• To aid saliva flow, chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals to help prevent tooth decay. Chewing sugarless gum increases saliva flow, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth.
In addition to helping you keep oral bacteria levels to a manageable level, your check-ups and cleanings are opportunities to screen for Oral Cancer. This year, approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer.
If you have aging fillings, we can also check for break down since fillings have a life expectancy of 8 -20 years. When the fillings in teeth start to break down, food and bacteria can get into the tooth beneath the fillings. This can cause decay to form deep in the tooth. Your regular exams provide opportunities to screen for this.
Celebrate October with us by renewing your commitment for a healthy smile! If you’ve delayed your 6-month cleaning and exam, call 910-254-4555 to schedule as soon as possible. It is far easier to prevent a problem than to repair it!