“’Think simple,’ as my old master used to say—meaning, reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.” –Frank Lloyd Wright

It’s October, which means it’s National Dental Hygiene Month—a celebration of the many fabulous dental hygienists that we have here at Ultradent and throughout the world, but also, of the basic foundational tenets that together, give us the best shot at great oral health.
This month, hygienists, in conjunction with American Dental Hygienists Association, are teaming up to increase awareness on the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene, and the four essential principles that play into it.Although simple, the Daily 4 serve as a great reminder and dental health checklist that everyone should complete before hitting the pillow each day. Are you doing the Daily 4? If not, now is a better time than ever to start! Here they are:

Brushing teeth twice daily is the foundation of good oral health. Both gum disease and tooth decay—the top two causes of tooth loss—can be prevented with proper brushing, because brushing helps to control populations of oral bacteria. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every few months and use a quality anti-cavity toothpaste.

No matter how thoroughly you brush, you cannot reach everywhere. In order to make sure the spaces between teeth and the pockets between teeth and gums get cleaned, you need to floss at least once per day. Be sure to use proper flossing technique to reach deep into those gum pockets, and avoid snapping floss against your gums as this could cause bleeding and irritation. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of floss—you want to use a clean section for every tooth space.

While some types of mouthwash mainly serve to put a pleasant scent on your breath, antimicrobial mouthwashes can make a big difference in your oral health. They kill the germs that cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association recommends rinsing once per day.

Chewing a piece of sugarless gum once a day is an excellent way to further protect against cavities. The chewing motion and the flavor of the gum stimulates production of saliva, which helps wash away both food debris and bacteria that could otherwise contribute to cavities. More saliva flow will also deliver more minerals to teeth to help strengthen and even rebuild tooth enamel.

Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to check your calendar and make sure you’re on schedule for your bi-annual dental cleaning/check-up. Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!