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There are only about 15 more days until Halloween. The stores have stocked their shelves with everyone’s favorite bit-sized candies, and put little yellow stickers nearby so that you get the best candy deal possible. Kids eyes light up because soon their bags will be filled with more candy then their little stomachs (and teeth) can handle.

October is candy month. But did you also know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month?

Properly taking care of your teeth on a daily basis by completing the “Daily 4” will not only help your oral health, but also your overall health as many diseases of the mouth of also been tied to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and obesity.

Problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are conditions we can control and even prevent by taking care of our teeth and gums throughout our lifetime.

So, what does the American Dental Association suggest we do? It’s pretty simple, really.

  • Brush your teeth 2x a day for 2 minutes each time. We suggest brushing with a tartar control toothpaste once in the morning, after a healthy, balanced breakfast and once in the evening, after a healthy, balanced dinner full of vegetables and low-fat proteins. Proper brushing technique is more than just how much time you spend on your teeth, but brushing the bottom set and the top set in a circular motion with a soft-head toothbrush for one minute each will help ensure you get the surface of your teeth clean.
  • Floss once daily. Flossing helps to remove the food particles that get stuck in between and your teeth and below your gum lines. When food is not removed, it will form into plaque, a sticky substance containing bacteria. Eventually, the plaque will turn into tartar, a substance that is permanent on your teeth, and will break down your gums until they become weak. Both plaque and tartar can cause gum disease or periodontal disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the gums, which leads to swelling, irritation, receding gums and even tooth loss.

The simple act of flossing once a day in the evening will help to reduce plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums.

  • Rinse with a mouthwash daily. We suggest using a mouthwash with fluoride to help reduce cavities, gum disease and periodontal disease, but any mouthwash will help reduce periodontal disease by reducing the quantity and quality of dental plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Plus, your breath will smell great!
  • Chew sugar free gum. Chewing sugar free (that’s the key) gum will help produce saliva, which is a natural bacteria-fighting substance that neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel and washes away food particles.

But, let’s face it: our dental hygiene habits are not always what they are supposed to be. That is why it is important to visit Dr. Kassem once every six months for a routine cleaning and check-up. We can help remove some of the unwanted plaque, and make sure there are not any developing problems that need to be managed.