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October is National Dental Hygiene Month

flosss October is here, and The American Dental Hygienists' Association, ADHA, is promoting awareness about the importance of practicing proper oral health care. Now is a great time to schedule an appointment with your dentist and brush up on practicing good dental hygiene.

This year's focus is on the Daily 4, four simple ways to maintain your healthy smile, and it's never too late to start.

Step One - Brush

Did you know that brushing your teeth for two minutes two times per day greatly helps prevent gingivitis, cavities, and other oral diseases? According to the ADHA, the following brushing technique is essential to clean your teeth and gums effectively:

  • Place bristles at a 45-degree angle along the gumline so they are in contact with both your gumline and your teeth.
  • Gently brush 2-3 teeth at a time using a vibrating rolling motion downward towards the chewing surface.
  • Repeat this for both the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth.
  • Position the brush vertically and use the tip to clean behind your front teeth.
  • Clean the biting surface of your teeth with a gentle scrubbing motion.
  • To remove odor-causing bacteria, brush your tongue from back to front.

Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

Step Two - Floss

Flossing is essential to removing food particles that your toothbrush can't reach.

  • Take an 18" piece of floss and wrap each end around each middle finger leaving a 1-2" section to take between your teeth.
  • Use your thumbs to direct the floss in between all of your teeth, unwinding it as needed.
  • Use a zigzag motion to place the floss between your teeth and wrap it around each tooth.
  • Glide the floss in an up and down motion.

Step Three - Rinse

After brushing and flossing, be sure to rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Ask your dentist to recommend the right one for you.

Step Four - Chew

Chew some sugar-free gum after meals and snacks to reduce the bacteria that produces the acid that can weaken your teeth.  Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva in your mouth that helps to keep your teeth clean.

Make the Daily 4 a part of your regular routine to enjoy healthy teeth and a happy smile. Also, for long term dental health, remember to schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned every six months.