October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and what better time to talk about cavities and oral health than the month filled with Halloween candy and treats?
Candy corn and caramel apples are staples of fall, but too much sugar and not enough dental care can lead to bacteria, infection, and cavities. This month we’re discussing ways to practice good dental hygiene and tips to help children with it too.
Whether you’re taking a picture, talking, or eating, our mouths draw attention from others. When we meet someone, it’s often one of the first things we notice about them. But, because many oral health issues aren’t apparent until it’s too late, we can forget the importance of taking care of our dental hygiene.
Did you know?
- 60-90 percent of school-age children have at least one cavity
- Almost 100 percent of adults have at least one cavity
- 15-20 percent of adults 35-44 years old have severe gum disease
- 30 percent of people worldwide ages 65-74 have zero natural teeth left
- There are between 1-10 cases of oral cancer found in every 100,000 people
One of the best ways to combat these health issues is to follow the BFR routine:
Brush: With your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, brush back and forth in small strokes. Continue for two full minutes and move the brush around until you’ve covered every tooth. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria. Repeat twice a day, morning and night.
Floss: Using a floss pick or about 18 inches of floss held in between your thumb and forefingers, guide it between each tooth. Curve the floss into a C shape against the tooth and move in a gentle rubbing motion—never snap the floss into the gums. Repeat daily or as often as you can throughout the week.
Rinse: Finish your routine with an oral rinse to kill any leftover bacteria. Mouthwash containing fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and fight cavities. Gargle the rinse for 30-60 seconds, swoosh it around to reach every part of your mouth, and then spit it out. Try not to swallow the mouthwash while rinsing. Repeat daily.
Decreasing your sugar intake, avoiding tobacco, visiting the dentist regularly, and eating a high fruit and vegetable diet are also effective ways to take care of your dental hygiene.
Do your part
Here are five ways to improve children’s dental hygiene:
- Demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss with your children.
- Purchase a fun new toothbrush to encourage use – i.e., their favorite color, a character-themed toothbrush, or one that plays music.
- Create a bathroom “Brush, Floss, Rinse” chart and offer a reward at the end of the week for accomplishing each task every day.
- Schedule a dentist appointment if it’s been a while since you or your children last visited.
- Try to limit their sugar intake by keeping Halloween candy out of reach and setting a fixed number of pieces they’re allowed to have per day.
For dental or oral emergencies such as a busted lip, knocked out teeth, sliced gums, etc., Texarkana Emergency Center is here to help. We are ready to assist you with any type of medical emergency, 24/7, 365 days a year. Our highly trained staff is dedicated to giving our patients the most effective and efficient treatment in a comfortable environment.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Texarkana Emergency Center and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.