National Dental Hygiene Month is recognized every year during the month of October, and raises awareness of habits that promote a healthy smile and celebrates the hard work put in by both dentists and hygienists alike. Routine checkups, good brushing and flossing habits, and a living a healthy lifestyle are all key to maintaining a healthy mouth and strong teeth. Keeping up on the cleanliness and health of your mouth helps the rest of your body’s health, too— studies show a connection between gum disease and heart disease, while those with high blood sugar from diabetes are at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track to achieving and maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile.
1. Schedule Routine Checkups
Routine checkups are recommended at least twice a year. During these visits, you can expect a thorough teeth cleaning, as well as a dental exam to check for signs of periodontal disease (gum disease), cavities, or teeth grinding, as well as screenings for cancer. Bi-annual checkups are essential for proper dental care.
2. Maintain Proper Care
Learning how to properly take care of your teeth will help prevent any problems that your dentist or hygienist may discover during your routine visits. Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush will help protect your gums and keep your teeth clean in between visits to the dentist. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride (a leading defense against tooth decay), and floss at least once a day to tackle those hard-to-reach spaces in-between teeth and in the back of your mouth near your molars. Brushing your tongue also helps prevent bad breath, and removes bacteria and plaque. If you’re at work or school, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent tooth decay by increasing the flow of saliva, which helps wash away leftover food particles and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria.
3. Learn to Recognize Abnormalities
Any abnormality in your mouth that persists for more than a week or worsens during this time may warrant a visit to the dentist, even if you are not due for a routine checkup. Some of these abnormalities may include:
· Tooth or gum pain
· Teeth that become sensitive to pressure, heat, or cold
· Losing a filling
· Pain in your jaw, neck, or face
· Sores in your mouth
· Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
· Dry mouth
· Difficulty chewing or swallowing food or drink
By being proactive with your dental care, you can help increase the longevity of your teeth and lower your risk for developing a variety of health problems. There is no one-size-fits-all dental schedule or routine that will work for everyone. At CORE Dental Care, we help you formulate a plan and adopt an approach that works best for you by addressing your specific dental health needs. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, we invite you call us at (406) 652-9100, or book online here.