National Dental Hygiene Month
Every October, we come together as a nation to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM). The purpose of NDHM is to increase public awareness about the importance of preventive services in maintaining good oral hygiene and to encourage others to develop and continue with a daily oral health routine. It is a time to focus on community service and the day-to-day efforts of dental hygienists across the country.
This year’s theme, “Keep them healthy. Keep them clean., stresses the importance of making a dental hygiene routine part of your day to maintain your oral health.
Along with our partner Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, manufacturer of Orbit gum, ADHA will continue to improve upon last year’s successful NDHM format by providing even more focus on consumer information about oral disease prevention.
Be sure to check back with ADHA to stay updated with news and events pertaining to this year’s NDHM. There are also PR materials available in the state and local resource center to help you promote any state or local event that you may be planning in honor of NDHM.
Maintain a good routine.
Brush 2 Minutes 2x a Day
Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day remains a critical component to maintaining a healthy smile. Studies have shown that brushing for two minutes is perhaps the single most important step an individual can take to reduce plaque build-up and the risk of plaque-associated diseases, such as cavities and gingivitis.
Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively.
Proper flossing or interdental cleaning removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
Let’s face it, getting into a routine of regular flossing is probably the greatest home care challenge for our patients. Studies have revealed that only 16% of 961 periodontal patients followed over an eight-year period, complied with the recommended maintenance schedules. The results of these studies are an excellent example of how different our perceived ideal can be from clinical reality. Any product or technique that can demonstrably make flossing easier will be more likely to make it actually happen. There are many different types of floss (besides waxed or unwaxed) with different thicknesses, filaments, and coatings. They are available at most dental trade shows; try them in your own mouth. If a patient is resistant to flossing, find out why. Explore probable causes of the problem, and suggest several products, which might help.
Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and at the gumline, where periodontal disease often begins.
Rinse with Mouthwash
Rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouth rinse is another important step in preventing the gum disease known as gingivitis. Speak with your dental hygienist for more information on which mouth rinse is right for you.
Brushing and flossing disrupt plaque on the teeth and gums, but teeth make up only less than half of your mouth. To kill plaque and gingivitis germs that brushing leaves behind, be sure to finish your oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating is clinically proven to be an important part of good oral health. It stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay - saliva - which, in turn helps fight cavities, neutralize plaque acids, re-mineralize enamel to strengthen teeth and wash away food particles.
Research from around the world has now shown conclusively that chewing sugar-free gum has many oral health benefits. When chewing is incorporated into the daily oral healthcare routine, especially after eating and drinking, it positively affects oral health.
Many people don't know about the scientific evidence supporting the use of sugarfree gum, here are the hard facts.
Other Resources from the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
- A Clinical Overview of Sugarfree Gum.
- Journal of Dental Research: "Effect of after-meal sugarfree gum chewing on caries."
- Contemporary Oral Hygiene: "Sugarfree Chewing Gums and Caries Prevention."
- Dentistry Today: "Saliva, chewing gum, and Oral Health."
- JADA: "The Effect of Chewing Sugarfree Gum After Meals on Clinical Caries Incidence."
- Learn about drymouth.info
- Patient pamphlet on dry mouth.
- Patient pamphlet on saliva stimulation.
- To download a JADA supplement on the Effect of Saliva on Dental Caries click here.
To take the online continuing education course for the supplement click here.
About Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programs
For more than 25 years, Wrigley Oral Healthcare programs have supported independent, clinical research into the benefits of chewing gum. This includes saliva stimulation, plaque acid neutralization, and tooth strengthening to help oral care professionals and their patients understand the role of sugar-free gum as a convenient tool for everyday oral care. Today, Wrigley operates oral healthcare programs in 47 countries worldwide. Visit www.wrigleydentalcare.com for more information.