While October is National Dental Hygiene Month it is also the month of Halloween. Halloween and candy go hand in hand but so does candy and cavities, which is why this is a great opportunity to encourage your patients to pay attention to their oral hygiene as they approach Halloween. Remind your patients that oral health is essential to general health and well-being and that they should remember that brushing twice a day with regular flossing and attention to healthy foods will help to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Although dentists and hygienists recommend brushing for two minutes, twice a day for the most effective protection against tooth decay, plaque buildup and gum disease, the average time for brushing is under one minute. Brush your teeth within 10 minutes of eating sugary sweets if you can, says dental hygienist Heidi Glastetter. Brushing helps to get the sugar off your teeth, and also helps neutralize the pH level in your mouth, making that environment less inviting to bacteria that cause decay.
Here's some tips you can recommend to your patients to encourage them to help prevent cavities this Halloween.
Tips To Help Prevent Cavities This Halloween
Minimize the amount of hard candies that coat the mouth in sugar for a long period of time. Sticky, chewy candies also create an environment in the mouth that invites bacteria that cause cavities.
Brush your teeth within 10 minutes of eating candy. If that's not possible, drink water to help rinse the sugar from your mouth.
Choose healthy snacks like apples, or munch on carrots to help remove excess sugar.
Play fun Halloween games like bobbing for apples. Include non-food prizes like glow-bracelets or movie tickets.
Chew sugarless gum. Studies have shown a slight reduction in plaque with use of sugar-free gum after eating.
If you are a parent, take care of your own oral hygiene as well as your children's. Bacteria that cause cavities can be transferred from parent to child when, for example, Mom tastes a food before giving to a toddler, or Dad and child drink from the same beverage cup.
Brush your teeth for two full minutes, twice a day, which is what most dental professionals recommend. Most people only brush for a minute or less.
Start the holiday season with a new toothbrush. There are basically two types of toothbrushes: manual and powered. The ADA recommends that you buy the one that you will use.
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