October can bring a lot of thoughts to people’s minds. Some instantly think of the season, as the wind becomes more brisk and the colorful leaves begin to litter the ground. Others think of baseball and how their season is either over or just beginning to ramp up. Even more people think of Halloween and the barrage of costumes and candy it inevitably brings. But did you know October is also National Dental Hygiene Month? It is a month to celebrate the hard work of dental hygienists around the country who help so many patients on a daily basis. In honor of that, your dentist in San Antonio, TX from Jones and Knight DDS would like to give you a few tips to help keep your teeth clean and healthy.
1. Brush Your Teeth…Correctly!
At this point, you probably feel like you’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life. A quick chat with your parents will change that perception, as they will tell stories about chasing you around with a toothbrush. Despite this familiarity, most adults do not brush their teeth correctly. They typically miss one of the following things:
- Brush at least twice day, once in the morning and once at night. Don’t brush more than 3 times a day as it can actually break down your teeth
- Brush for at least 2 minutes each time
- Brush the front, back, and sides of every tooth
- Use a gentle circling motion
- Brush your tongue for fresh breath
Most of the time people brush without even thinking about it. This is why they usually do not brush long enough or can miss large areas. If you are using a manual toothbrush, be sure to set some type of timer so you don’t have to think about it. Be sure that you brush every tooth, especially the back teeth, as these are frequently missed. A gentle circling motion with the brush head more easily breaks up plaque than simply going back and forth. You can also cut down on the gum and breath-mints by simply brushing your tongue. Often your breath is dictated by the food that is left on your tongue.
2. Remember to Floss!
Yes, you need to floss every time you brush. Whenever you “forget” to floss, you are leaving nearly 40% of your teeth’s surfaces uncleaned, which can leave them vulnerable to tooth decay. Flossing is able to reach areas that your brush simply can’t. It doesn’t matter which order that you do them in, just as long as you always do both. Be sure to use 12-18 inches of floss every time, and floss between every tooth, even behind the back teeth.
3. Limit Sugary Foods!
The plaque that can decay your teeth comes from naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feeding on leftover sugar. Drinks such as sodas, juices, energy drinks, and candy (trick-or-treaters) are high in sugar and can facilitate the buildup of plaque. You don’t need to give them up completely, but drinking a little more water and spacing out your snacking can do a lot to help preserve your teeth.
4. Come See Us!
No dental hygiene regimen would be complete without regular check-ups and cleanings from your family dentist in San Antonio, TX. A professional cleaning is able to reach areas that you can’t with your home routine. These visits also enable Dr. Jones and Dr. Knight to examine your teeth and catch any potential dental issues early before they can cause you any real trouble.
Want to know more about how you can keep your teeth healthy? Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions. Between brushing, flossing, and the dedicated team at Jones and Knight DDS, we know we can keep you smiling this month, and many months to come.