Celebrate ADHA Oral Hygiene Month

Even though our oral hygiene is important every day of the year, the month of October has been designated Dental Hygiene Month by the American Association of Dental Hygienists, or ADHA. Each October since 2009, the ADHA and its members have celebrated all things oral hygiene and dental hygienist, usually with a different theme each year.

This October, Dental Hygiene Month is once again celebrating hygienists and all they do for our teeth – and reminding us of the healthy steps we can take to ensure we have the best dental hygiene possible. Dr. Allison Lesko of Fort Collins, Colorado, shares these steps with us.

“First and foremost, the No. 1 tip from the ADHA and any dentist is to brush your teeth regularly,” says Lesko. “This means brushing your teeth not once but twice per day, for at least two minutes each time.”

According to Lesko, nearly half of all people around the world only brush their teeth once a day, and that’s not nearly enough to prevent dental caries (also known as cavities) from forming.

The next tip? Flossing.

“Flossing may not seem that important unless you have something stuck between your teeth, but it should be a part of your regular dental hygiene routine,” Lesko says.

Lesko and the ADHA recommend flossing at least once a day, preferably at the end of the day so plaque and food particles don’t stay stuck between your teeth overnight.

“Flossing removes about 30 percent of the plaque and food particles that brushing can’t get to,” says Lesko.

Finally, the ADHA recommends you rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing.

“Mouthwash will remove and rinse away any bits of plaque and food that you missed brushing and flossing,” Lesko says. “And it makes your breath fresh, too.”

Though there has been some debate about whether mouthwash should be used prior to brushing to loosen plaque and debris or after brushing and flossing, Lesko says rinsing with water first should suffice.

“Save the mouthwash for when you’re done so you get the full effect and benefits of the mouthwash.”

For those who have tried mouthwash in the past and aren’t a fan of the taste or feeling, Lesko says the mouthwashes of years past have evolved. There are now alcohol-free varieties and different flavors that may be tolerated easier than the old minty standbys.

Oh, and one last tip: Be sure to thank your dental hygienist this Dental Hygiene Month!


Dental Tips You May Not Have Heard

As with most professions, dentists must complete continuing education and training each year to stay current. But even if they weren’t required to, many dentists would still do it, because the more you learn, the more you grow. The same should apply to patients! Learning more about caring for your oral health means you can take better care of your teeth and live a healthier life in the process. Here are some tips for caring for your teeth that you may not have known but that can make a positive change in your oral health and hygiene.

Don’t Rinse Your Toothpaste

A lot of us brush our teeth and then what do we do? We grab a cup of water and swish or gargle and spit, washing away all the fluoride our toothpaste could be leaving behind. Of course, we don’t want you to swallow your toothpaste, but next time you brush, skip the swish and just spit out your paste. This will leave all the beneficial parts of the toothpaste behind on your teeth so they keep working even after you’ve stopped brushing.

And while we’re on the topic, make sure your toothpaste does contain 1,350 to 1,500 parts per million (PPM) of fluoride.

Watch Your Sugar Intake

Sugar has a bad reputation these days, and for good reason. It has been linked to everything from obesity to diabetes to, of course, cavities. The sugar itself doesn’t cause the cavities, though – it’s the acid byproduct of the bacteria that eat the sugar off your teeth. This bacteria wears through your enamel and causes cavities. But sugar tastes so good, doesn’t it? We’re not asking you to cut sugar entirely from your diet (although that would be ideal), but experts recommend no more than 8 teaspoons of sugar per day. And while that may seem like a lot, when you look at how much sugar is in the foods we regularly consume without even realizing it, many people may consume that just at breakfast.

Floss at Night

There doesn’t seem to be an official guideline about what is the best time to floss, but it makes a lot of sense to floss before bed. This removes all the food and plaque accumulated between the teeth during the day and keeps the teeth free of debris overnight. Of course, it won’t hurt to floss again in the morning (in fact it would help tremendously!), but if you are going to floss only once a day, make it count.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko, please call 970-812-0355.


Banish Bad Breath for Good

Bad breath is like the metaphorical “toilet paper on the shoe.” Everyone else knows it’s there, but most of them don’t know how to tell you, so it remains until you notice it yourself. Unfortunately, in the case of bad breath, that can be almost impossible if you aren’t checking for it. Whether you’re insecure about your breath or just want to safeguard yourself just in case, here are some time-honored tips for making sure your breath is fresh as a daisy.

(more…)