October: National Dental Hygiene Month

National Dental Hygiene Month

October has been proclaimed “National Dental Hygiene Month” by the American Dental Hygienists Association.

Here in Kenosha and in Paddock Lake, Fulmer Dentistry is promoting good dental hygiene as the most effective way for their patients to keep their teeth healthy and their smiles bright.

“A routine that is built around regular brushing and flossing is key to good dental health,” said Dr. Jim Fulmer. “Brushing for two minutes, twice a day, is a great way to reduce the potential for tooth decay, gingivitis and other dental-related diseases.”

Fulmer suggested that proper brushing technique can make a world of difference in keeping teeth healthy and clean. He said a proper toothbrush is one that has soft, nylon, rounded bristles that will not damage gums, scratch or irritate teeth.

The American Dental Hygienist’s Association recommends that you concentrate on brushing two or three teeth simultaneously while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles gently touch both the gum line and the tooth.

Fulmer stressed that it is important to replace your toothbrush regularly.  “You should not keep a toothbrush longer than three or four months,” he said. “Even if it appears to be in good shape, unwanted, invisible microbes can grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Many of these are harmless, but some can cause flu or other viruses.”

Flossing, in addition to brushing, is essential for people who are serious about proper dental hygiene. Flossing removes microbes and other food particles that are out of reach of normal brushing. “My patients understand that regular flossing helps reduce the risk, not only of tooth decay, but also other periodontal diseases,” Dr. Fulmer stated.

Proper flossing results in plaque removal at the gumline, where periodontal disease begins. “Some patients find flossing awkward or difficult,” Dr. Fulmer stated. “We discuss the many floss holders and other interdental cleaning devices that are available. We can always find something that suits the unique circumstances our patients bring to the office.”

Dr. Fulmer added that patients also need to appreciate the necessity of a thorough rinse following brushing and flossing. “A good antimicrobial mouth rinse helps eliminate bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot reach,” he said. “There are a lot of different rinses on the market. We can advise you on the rinse that will work best for you.”

There are other “tricks of the trade” that dental patients can use to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help eliminate germs and reduce the potential for cavities. “Saliva helps eliminate food particles and neutralizes acids on teeth,” Dr. Fulmer said. “Sugar-free gum chewing helps stimulate the production of additional saliva.”

As Fulmer Dentistry joins dental hygienists, nationwide, in celebrating National Dental Hygiene Month, Dr. Fulmer encourages his patients to ask questions. “We love to discuss good dental hygiene practices,” he stated. “October is a great month to start a conversation that will help our patients keep bright smiles throughout the year.”