It’s a great time of year in October! Leaves are changing, hot drinks are in season, and it’s National Dental Hygiene Month. Dentists once believed that people would lose all their teeth if they lived long enough, but thanks to fluoridation, less smoking, and better hygiene, people are now retaining healthy teeth throughout their lives. In the spirit of the season, let’s review good hygiene.
Anybody who has teeth should be brushing theirs twice a day. We recommend brushing for two minutes per second, being sure to cover every surface. To clean the inward-facing side of your lower front teeth, point the brush vertically. On the outer side, brush sideways, but be sure you don’t skip the gum line. After brushing, floss your teeth thoroughly by sliding floss all the way down each side of each tooth and making a scooping motion to capture tartar. Don’t forget to floss your back teeth. You could also use a device such as a Waterpik, but not anything sharp that wasn’t made to be used on teeth.
Once a day, you should also scrape your tongue. This will prevent bad breath and bacterial build-up. Rinsing with mouthwash may also be helpful. Lastly, by chewing sugar-free gum after meals, you can remove some food debris so it doesn’t sit there for hours until the next time you brush.
Drs. Denise VeyVoda and Robert G. West operate The Oyster Bay Family Dentists at 123 South Street, Oyster Bay, New York, 11771. To schedule an appointment, call 516-922-5730 or visit Oyster Bay Dentists and fill out a contact sheet.