Sometimes it feels as though there’s a national day or month for just about everything under the sun. But some of those designations play an important role in reminding us to care for our own safety or health. National Dental Care month is one of those. This recognition was established in 2018 when Dr. Tim Stirneman – a dentist from Illinois – and his director of business development Jim Wojdy applied for this designation. They did so for one simple reason: to improve awareness of preventive dental care. Since then, May has been recognized as National Dental Care Month.
While it’s true that some dental practices and appliances have been around for centuries – tooth extraction and dentures are two good examples – preventive oral health care only became mainstream in the early 1900s. Dental technology and our awareness of the importance of preventive care have come a long way since then. Today, most of us understand how good oral health plays an integral role in our overall health. Many studies conducted over the past several years have shown a connection between poor oral health and other more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few. And when it comes to good oral health, the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is absolutely true.
National Dental Care month is an excellent time to pay close attention to your own oral hygiene routine, and to schedule your next visit to your dentist for a routine oral exam and professional cleaning. As far as your at-home preventive practices, begin with the basics by brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once. But to take your oral hygiene routine to the next level, consider flossing twice a day and investing in a water flosser. Your gums will benefit from using an anti-bacterial mouthwash twice a day as well. So the optimum oral hygiene routine would be:
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled manual or electronic toothbrush.
- Floss with high quality dental floss.
- Use a water flosser device to dislodge any food particles not removed by the brushing or regular flossing.
- Rinse for 30 seconds with an anti-bacterial mouthwash.
And, of course, no preventive oral health care plan is complete without regular trips to your dentist for oral exams and cleanings. Dentists recommend that most patients come in twice a year, but you may need to visit more often if you have oral health issues.
Celebrate National Dental Care month by practicing a thorough oral hygiene routine at home and visiting your dentist regularly.