National Dental Hygiene Month

Written by Heather Siler

National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrated in October each year and is dedicated to the recognition and celebration of dental hygienists for their position in the dental community and commitment to raising awareness of proper oral hygiene.

This year, the focus of dental hygiene month is on the Daily 4 campaign which launched to help incorporate the four daily habits that improve the oral and overall health of the public. The Daily 4 consists of brushing, flossing, rinsing, and chewing.

  • Brushing- Placing the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, gently move back and forth in short strokes. Brush all outer surfaces first, then inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces last. Place the brush vertically to clean the inside of the upper and lower front teeth using up and down strokes. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice per day with a size appropriate soft-bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes. The tongue should also be brushed with a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
  • Flossing- The ADA recommends flossing once per day to eliminate plaque and food debris not removed through brushing. Plaque that’s left on the teeth can mineralize and become a hardened deposit called calculus and requires a dentist or hygienist for removal. The lingering plaque also causes tooth decay.
  • Rinsing- There are other structures inside the mouth other than the teeth that require attention. Rinsing with a product that’s approved by the ADA can help eliminate organisms that cause gingivitis and decay from the teeth and the soft tissue in the mouth. There are many excellent rinses on the market that are dedicated to different needs. Dental professionals recommend rinses based on patient
  • Chewing- Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum can help with many oral Chewing increases saliva flow which dislodges food and other debris and neutralizes acid. Some gums contain helpful ingredients that fight dry mouth syndrome, demineralization, and other issues. However, if a patient experiences Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD), chewing gum may not be advised.

For further information regarding the Daily 4, visit http://www.adha.org/daily4 where you’ll find many resources for your office to celebrate Dental Hygiene Month by encouraging excellent oral health.