Undoubtedly with a sense or irony, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Wrigley Company are sponsoring National Dental Hygiene Month for October 2014. On this last day of October, many children — and adults — are chewing more candy than they might eat all year long! So while it’s a lot of fun to gobble gobs of candy, it’s also appropriate to consider just how to protect our teeth from the harmful effects of too much sugar and sticky sweets.
Many candies are very sour. Such confections get their sourness from acids. These acids combine with those created by oral bacteria to destroy your enamel. Before brushing away these acids, however, you should first rinse your teeth with water or at least chew a sugar-free gum. If you brush your teeth after an acidic meal or beverage, you may be brushing the acid all over your enamel instead of removing it! So rinse away the acid first, then brush away the sugary remnants. Chewing sugar-free gum uses your own saliva to wash away the acids.
Brush Twice a Day
Going to sleep with sugary sweets between your teeth is a bacteria’s idea of a dream and your enamel’s version of a nightmare! Following the advice above, make sure to also brush your teeth before you go to sleep. While brushing after every meal is good advice, brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time is recommended as a minimum.
Sticky sweets can escape your toothbrush and its bristles. Make sure to floss with the tool of your choice at least once a day. Doing so before you sleep makes certain that there’s no bacterial “midnight snack” stuck between your teeth.
End the Month on a High Note
If you have followed the guidelines for Dental Hygiene Month throughout October, don’t let the last day of the month end your good habits. On one of the most important days of the year for good oral hygiene, make sure that you and your family members are rinsing, brushing and flossing your way to good oral health. And don’t forget to visit our Sacramento dentists and hygienists on a regular basis!