Halloween brings costumes, tricks, and lots of sugary treats. It may not be a coincidence, then, that National Dental Hygiene Month is also observed in October. To survive an entire holiday centered around candy, there are ways to handle the potential damage that sweets may cause to your teeth. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) has just the solution.
According to the ADHA, every adult should incorporate four activities— appropriately dubbed the “Daily 4”—into his or her daily life. The Daily 4 involves brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing each day, rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash, and chewing sugar-free gum.
How exactly can these four simple activities improve our dental health?
Brushing twice a day. Cleaning your teeth at least two times a day can help keep your teeth plaque-free and strong. While brushing your teeth in the morning helps combat bad breath, brushing again at the end of the day is just as important. Cleaning your teeth in the evening helps remove the sugars and bits of food from the day in order to avoid staining, plaque, and cavities.
Flossing every day. Though brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth, flossing helps clean out the gaps in between your teeth where excess bacteria often builds up. Failing to floss often could lead to severe consequences, such as gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay.
Using mouthwash. Besides the obvious benefit of freshening your breath, antimicrobial mouthwash helps prevent plaque buildup on and in-between the surface of your teeth and on your gums. Also, using mouthwash before you floss can loosen food particles in your mouth to enhance the effects of brushing and flossing. As with brushing and flossing, using mouthwash can also help prevent cavities.
Chewing sugar-free gum. In addition to helping prevent cavities, sugarless gum also reduces the sensitivity of your teeth, causing them to grow stronger. Sugar-free gum has also been shown to strengthen enamel, which protects your teeth against decay.
Working the Daily 4 into your everyday routine takes a minimal amount of effort and helps better your dental hygiene down the road.