February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Shawanda Jackson
  • 49th Aerospace Medical Squadron
February is a special time of the year for dental professionals to show our amazing community how to maintain proper oral hygiene. We are role models to our kids and need to encourage daily oral hygiene habits. Good practices of routine dental care can lead to an overall healthy body and mouth. I challenge everyone to take a stand and help fight against tooth decay. Brushing and flossing is the key to a successful smile, and we want to instill good habits in our children.

Brushing is recommended at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. Brushing more than two minutes is okay, as long as you only use soft toothbrushes and you do not scrub aggressively when you brush. The idea is to eliminate the buildup of plaque that can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. As people know, only a small amount of toothpaste is needed to brush, a pea sized amount of toothpaste will effectively do the job. Angling the bristles 45 degrees is the key to the removal of bacterial plaque. Make sure to brush your teeth, gums, and tongue because they all harbor bacteria.

Flossing daily removes the plaque and food particles that you are unable to reach with your toothbrush. These particles are concentrated around your gumline and between your teeth. Flossing must be a part of your daily routine. It may be a little challenging at first, but this is the most important way to help reduce your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay between your teeth. Ask for assistance from your dental technician or dental hygienist to guide you with proper techniques.

Some people are under the false impression that mouthwashes reduce the need for flossing. That is absolutely not true. On the other hand, daily use of an antibacterial mouthwash has been shown in clinical studies to kill 98% of germs and bacteria and reduce gingivitis. Also, rinsing with an ADA (American Dental Association) approved antibacterial mouthwash helps to fight gum disease and eliminates bad breath for some people.