Though you may be eagerly awaiting munching on sweets this October thanks to Halloween, also keep in mind that it isNational Dental Hygiene month and try to make a new habit—or five!—based on these best oral hygiene tips.
1. Brush more than once a day: A recent survey revealed that only one-third of Americans brush once a day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing after every meal, or at least twice a day. Be aware, though, that excessive brushing can harm your gums.
2. Clean your tongue: Invest in a tongue scraper and make cleaning your tongue part of your oral hygiene routine. This will help get rid of any bacteria buildup, ultimately helping prevent plaque buildup, which can cause gum disease.
3. Floss: Aside from brushing, flossing is an essential step in your oral health routine that will help keep your mouth feeling fresh and prevent gum disease. “Ninety percent of food and plaque hide between the teeth,” Jack Gruber, D.D.S. says. Dr. Gruber, who says flossing is the No.1 habit to pick up, if you’re to pick up at least one of these habits, recommends flossing or using other devices such as wooden plaque removers after each meal. Bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease, so if you begin flossing and you detect some blood, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
4. Change up your brushing routine: You’ve probably been brushing the same way for as long as you can remember. Instead, try brushing from a different starting point and work your way around from there. Dentists have found that by the end of brushing time, many people get bored and lazy, so they don’t brush as well. Changing up the routine ensures all your teeth get equal amounts of love.
5. Chew sugar-free gum after a meal or snack: If you can’t get to brushing and flossing after eating a meal or munching on a snack, chewing sugar-free gum, which increases saliva flow, can help naturally wash away bacteria.