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October Is National Dental Hygiene Month

September 26, 2014 Health Awareness Days, Dental Hygiene/Dental Assistant, General 0 Comments

This October, you have the opportunity to be part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness for the importance of good dental hygiene. October 2014 is National Dental Hygiene Month, and across the nation, communities and practitioners will join the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) in finding ways to improve the public's understanding of dental diseases and, more importantly, how to prevent them.

October Is National Dental Hygiene Month Prevalence

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15.6 percent of people 6-19 years old and 23.7 percent of adults 20-64 have untreated dental caries, with tooth retention — and thus overall dental health — associated with income level. Among adults above the poverty level, 55 percent retained all their teeth, compared to 42 percent of those living below the poverty level.

Brush

The most important tool you have for preventing tooth decay is your toothbrush. To prevent cavities and combat gingivitis and other diseases effectively, the ADHA advises two full minutes of brushing. Not only should your teeth be brushed at least twice daily, it should be done properly and in conjunction with other dental hygiene measures.

Floss

Floss every day to remove material from between the teeth and at the gum line. For a variety of reasons, flossing is particularly unpopular. The ADHA says to make flossing easier to increase your chances of doing it; your hygienist will be able to recommend a particular technique or products of differing thicknesses, filaments or coatings to make the practice more convenient.

Rinse With Mouthwash

The ADHA advises rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash every day, reminding that "teeth themselves account for less than half of your mouth," and rising with mouthwash ensures adequate ridding of germs and plaque. To be most effective, antiseptic mouthwashes should bear the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Chew Sugarless Gum

Sugarless gum plays an important part in good dental health. Chewing sugarless gum raises the pH level at critical areas of the mouth and increases both the flow and volume of saliva. Beyond its clinical benefits, chewing gum freshens breath and, by moisturizing the mouth, make dentures more comfortable to wear. To achieve these benefits, the ADHA recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after every meal.

Find out how you can help the national awareness movement and become part of the National Dental Hygiene month. Your own hygienist might know of or be willing to help organize local events. Otherwise, you can contact the ADHA to find out ways you can help.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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