Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month?  It is celebrated to help bring awareness to the importance of good oral health for your well-being.  Here at Lasting Smiles of Prospect, CT, we feel strongly that good oral hygiene is important everyday!  This year, the American Dental Association (ADA) is highlighting the importance of four easy dental hygiene routines that can help you maintain a healthy smile:  brush, floss, rinse, and chew

  • Brush – The ADA recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, at least two times a day, with fluoride toothpaste.  The point of brushing your teeth is to remove food particles and plaque.  By eating certain foods, such as sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria found in plaque can produce acid and weaken your tooth enamel.  This can lead to cavities and if plaque is not properly removed, it can lead to tartar, which in turn can cause tooth discoloration. 

  • Floss – For optimal oral hygiene, it is important to floss at least once a day.  It does not matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, or in the morning or evening.  The most important thing about flossing is to do it effectively and to make it part of your daily routine.  Flossing done properly can remove plaque that is found in between your teeth.  Plaque that is not successfully removed while brushing and flossing can form into an accumulation of bacteria, called tarter.   Once your teeth have tarter build up, it has to be removed by your family dentist to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Rinse – Did you know that your teeth alone account for less than half of your mouth?  That is why rinsing your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash is so important.  By rinsing your mouth, you are removing bacteria from your entire mouth that brushing and flossing your teeth cannot.  As with all oral hygiene steps, it is important to follow the directions carefully to get the maximum health benefits.  Be sure to find a mouthwash or rinse that directly targets your dental needs (i.e., bad breath, cavities, tartar build up, etc.).  By using a rinse agent, you can help add another layer of protection to your pearly whites and mouth as a whole.  Just be sure to not use mouthwash as a replacement for brushing and flossing – they are the most vital steps in a healthy oral hygiene routine. 

  • Chew – This might go against what you learned as a child – but chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth!  Sugar free chewing gum that is.  Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay.  This is because chewing gum increases the flow of saliva and helps wash away food particles, neutralizes harmful bacteria and acids in your mouth and as an added bonus – it freshens your breath. 

In addition to following the oral hygiene golden rules of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day, it is important to also regularly visit your dentist for cleanings and dental care.  In order to keep your gums and teeth healthy, you should visit your dentist to have an examination and teeth cleaning at least every six months.  During the examination, Dr. Socarras and his staff at Lasting Smiles of Prospect will check for cavities, tartar and plaque on or in between your teeth.  They will also check your gums, tongue and mouth to determine your overall oral health. 

New research has shown that the health of your mouth directly mirrors your overall health and happiness.  Be sure to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month this October by brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing!    Dr. Socarras and his dental team are happy to be your family dentist in the Prospect, CT region.  Call our office (203) 941-7786 to schedule your next dental appointment and learn more about the importance of healthy oral hygiene practices.  You’ll certainly leave with a smile on your face when visiting Lasting Smiles of Prospect!