Don't Let Good Hygiene Habits Hibernate!
Winter is a busy time for most; with all of the parties, dinners, shopping, celebrations, and altered schedules, it's difficult to remember all of the tasks that are routine in the "off months." That's no reason to forget to practice good oral hygiene, however, especially with all of the starchy, sugary treats present that could wreak havoc on dental health.
A comprehensive oral health care plan is the best way to fight chances of periodontal disease, according to an article in the November 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) monthly newsmagazine. Dentists recommend that patients brush thoroughly twice a day, floss once a day and rinse with mouthwash when necessary to remove plaque and keep the mouth free from bacteria.
Regular care is recommended because of the small amount of time it takes for bacteria to invade the mouth, even if it's clean. Studies have shown that plaque will regrow on teeth that are completely clean within three to four hours of brushing.
AGD spokesperson June Lee, DDS, MAGD, has noticed in her practice that the most common habit her patients ignore is flossing. "Although flossing requires patience and dexterity, with time and experience, a person can learn to floss more quickly and still be effective," she says. "In our fast-paced world, many people don't have the patience to give flossing a chance to become second-nature, but it can tremendously improve their oral health."
Hygiene tips for a stellar smile:
• Brush with the radio on - dentists recommend brushing for the entire length of a song.
• Use fluoridated, antimicrobial toothpastes and mouth rinses. They help to make the tooth structure resistant to decay.
• Keep oral hygiene products at work. Studies show that the chance of a person using them during the day will increase 65 percent.
• Talk to your dentist about new products you're using, as all products are not suited for all people.
• Skip the caffeine. Avoiding caffeine before a dental appointment can make you less anxious.
• Communicate. Use hand signals to inform the dentist that you are uncomfortable, and talk to your dentist about your specific fears.
Updated: February 2008