By Alicia Whatley
October is National Dental Hygiene Month. This is a great time to celebrate the critical work dental hygienists do and to help raise awareness on the importance of good oral health. It’s especially important as we near Halloween and the endless amounts of candy that never seem to disappear.
Practicing good oral hygiene is important for everyone at every age. Engaging in daily dental hygiene practices helps to prevent gum disease, cavities, and more severe health conditions. Practicing good oral hygiene at home and by regularly visiting a dental professional is essential to maintaining a healthy mouth.
Everyone can participate in good oral hygiene practices by following the tips below.
- Ensure you are brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste. Find games and activities for kids to stay engaged during teeth-brushing time. Download a daily schedule for brushing teeth from 2min2x.org.
- Floss one time every day, usually at bedtime.
- Limit the number of snacks you eat during the day. Try choosing nutritious snacks and eating each snack in one sitting, rather than splitting it up.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles are worn down. Always replace your toothbrush after you have been sick.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months for an exam and professional cleaning.
The American Dental Association also offers 12 tips for a healthy Halloween, including avoiding sticky candies and drinking plenty of water to help prevent cavities. And be sure to celebrate November 1st as National Brush Day!
Starting early with dental hygiene in children leads to healthier smiles and building healthy habits for the future. Encouraging good oral hygiene in children is important and there are many tools available to help teach young kids, but the best way to encourage healthy habits in children is modeling these behaviors in your home.