Take Extra Special Care of Your Smile – It’s National Dental Hygiene Month

At Family Dental of Spokane Valley, our patients are the best around! We know they take good care of their smiles all year long. However, you may not be aware that October is National Dental Hygiene Month.

With that in mind, we wanted to devote a blog post to giving our patients a few good tips on ways they can pamper their smiles at home – just as a reminder of how important good oral hygiene is.

Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day For Two Minutes

There’s nothing better you can do for your teeth than regular brushing. Simply put, it is the foundation for a good at-home oral care routine. But did you know you should brush them twice a day for two minutes each time?

Two minutes may seem like a long time, so the easiest way to make sure you brush as long as you should is by setting a timer on your phone or using a watch with a second hand.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when brushing:

  • Divide your mouth into quadrants (upper outer, upper inner, bottom outer, bottom inner) and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds before moving on.
  • Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums for maximum effectiveness.
  • Use short up-and-down strokes, making sure to include the biting surfaces of each tooth as well.
  • Brush your tongue to help remove built-up bacteria and freshen your breath.

Good, thorough brushing will go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright!

Floss Once Daily to Remove Hidden Food Particles

For some reason, flossing seems to get put on the back burner when it comes to caring for our teeth. Many people simply don’t like to take time to do it, but flossing is important to remove plaque and food particles that can linger in between your teeth.

Here’s the best way to floss:

  • Begin with a piece of floss that’s about 18 inches long.
  • Wrap most of the floss around your two middle fingers, leaving a couple of inches to work with.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers, work the floss in between each of your teeth, using both up-and-down as well as back-and-forth motions.
  • Gently wrap the floss around each tooth to reach just below the gumline. Be careful you don’t irritate your sensitive gum tissue.

Flossing removes hidden food particles that teeth brushing alone can miss. If you don’t floss, you’re neglecting a full 40 percent of your teeth surfaces!

Rinse Once Daily For a Healthy Smile

As important as brushing and flossing are, they alone don’t clean your entire mouth. That’s why it’s important to rinse with a good-quality mouthwash at least once a day. Choose a rinse that kills germs but doesn’t contain any alcohol. Alcohol has a drying effect and can actually upset the balance of saliva that is necessary for washing away food particles in your mouth.

Always follow the directions on the package, but a good guideline is to rinse for at least 30 seconds to a minute. A thorough rinse once daily will kill bacteria that can settle on your teeth and potentially lead to cavities or gum disease.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum to Clean Your Teeth

This one is simple. After you eat, just chew a piece of sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes. Clinical studies have shown that chewing gum actually stimulates the production of saliva. Not only does saliva help remove food particles, it also neutralizes acids left behind by bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Saliva also provides disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth.

Not only does chewing sugar-free gum help maintain strong, healthy teeth, it also freshens your breath so you don’t experience any embarrassing social encounters caused by what you ate for lunch!

Visit Dr. Ellsworth Every Six Months For a Checkup

Nothing beats having high-quality professional dental care. No matter how well you take care of your teeth at home, it’s important to have a routine dental cleaning and exam twice a year. These regular visits will allow us to keep an eye on your oral health and take action against any small oral problems before they have the chance to cause major damage to your smile.

At each checkup, we’ll give you a complete teeth cleaning as well as do a thorough dental exam and take X-rays if needed. A little preventive care now can go a long way toward keeping your teeth in the best shape possible.

We Can Take Care of All Your Dental Needs

No matter what we find during your dental exam or what your smile needs to keep it healthy, Dr. Ellsworth and our team can handle it. We provide a full lineup of dental services, including:

This month, celebrate National Dental Hygiene month in Spokane Valley by taking extra-special care of your smile. It will pay off all year long! And be sure to call us today to schedule your next regular checkup: 509-850-3217.

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