October is National Dental Hygiene Month – The Daily 4

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? We find that fitting since October also happens be the biggest candy eating month of the year!

This October marks the eighth year that the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Health Programs are teaming up to increase public awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health.  This year, National Dental Hygiene Month is focused on the “Daily 4” – four routines that can help maintain healthy smiles. Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew.




1. BRUSH: Brush Twice a Day

The single most important thing we can do is to brush our teeth for two minutes, twice each day. Proper brushing reduces plaque, prevents cavities, and help limit the onset of gum disease. The proper brushing technique is to:
~ Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
~ Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
~ Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
~ To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
~ Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.


2. FLOSS: Floss Regularly 

Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gum line and between teeth. Failure to do so can allow for plaque buildup in these areas – which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.


3. RINSE: Rinse with Mouthwash

Because teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth, rinsing can help eliminate biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Rinsing often, along with brushing and flossing, may help reduce the chance of dental decay and infection. However, avoid rinses that have alcohol in them, according to MouthHealthy.org. Swish, gargle, and spit – this should be one of the easiest things we can do to ensure the long-lasting health of our teeth and gums.


4. CHEW: Chew Sugar-Free Gum After Meals

Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay — saliva — which in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth, and washes away food particles.


The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 185,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about the ADHA, dental hygiene or the link between oral health and general health, visit the ADHA at http://www.adha.org/national-dental-hygiene-month.