October is National Dental Hygiene Month
Jan 31, 2019
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, an annual reminder for the nation to practice the daily habits that promote healthy teeth and gums. This is the sixth year of the public awareness promotion, led by the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) in partnership with the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, producer of the famous chewing gum. The month-long campaign is targeted mostly towards children's oral health but also works to remind adults that they need to take care of their teeth, too. Working with dental hygienists, schools, and many public and private organizations across the nation, the promotion sponsors presentations, speaking events, webinars, free clinics and courses, social media outreach, service grants, and many other educational activities to market good oral hygiene to families and communities. The ADHA is the nation's premier organization for dental hygienists and supports them through advocacy, training, research, reviewing and setting standards, grants, and scholarships. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company has for 25 years sponsored the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programs, created to encourage research into the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum for oral health, particularly how stimulating saliva acts to neutralize the acids that attack teeth. They also promote oral health programs worldwide.
THE ELEMENTS OF GOOD ORAL HEALTHThe focus of National Dental Hygiene Month is on the key daily habits that promote healthy teeth and gums. These are:
- Brushing. The ADHA recommends using a soft toothbrush to brush twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and then again in the evening just before going to bed, using a toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Flossing. This should be done once daily, optimally just before going to sleep, when trapped food particles can do the most damage.
- Eating healthy. A diet in accordance with the government's food pyramid promotes oral health by cutting down on sugars and contributing to overall physical health and includes whole-grains and dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, with meat, fish, and sweets in moderation.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash. This should be done with daily brushing.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Research supported by the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programs has shown that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating helps to clean debris from teeth, promotes saliva production which helps to control acid buildup, and adds necessary minerals to the enamel of the teeth.