At Cardinal Dental Group, we are committed to providing you with the best oral health care possible. In recognition of National Dental Hygiene Month in October, we are pleased to bring you at-home tips you can follow as well as some tidbits of dental hygiene history you might find interesting.

Just how important is oral hygiene? More than you might know. Poor oral hygiene can increase your risk for cavities as well as other health problems, including heart disease. The American Dental Hygienists Association also reports that cavities are a major cause of tooth loss in children, while gum disease is the leading reason for tooth loss in adults. Approximately 78 percent of Americans have had at least one cavity by the time they are 17 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news is that by practicing the tips listed below, you can help to reduce your risk for cavities, gum disease, and other health problems.

• Brush twice daily and floss once daily. This is the best way to prevent food particles from getting trapped between your teeth and leading to plaque and tooth decay.

• Most people do not change their toothbrushes as often as they should. Your toothbrush should be changed three to four times per year and after anytime you have been sick.

• Rinse with mouthwash or chew gum after each meal. Along with brushing and flossing, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is a great way to prevent gum problems and decay. Chewing sugar-free gum following a meal can also help to increase the flow of saliva, which can wash away bacteria naturally while neutralizing acid.

• Avoid sugary foods, including fruit drinks and soft drinks. Sticky candies should also be avoided, as they tend to linger on the surfaces of the teeth.

Curious about who invented the idea of cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush? Oral hygiene was considered quite important in the Greek and Roman civilizations, both of which used chew sticks made from various types of shrubs to scrape the teeth. The first modern toothbrush as we know it today, is attributed to William Addis of England in 1780.

Remember, along with practicing good dental hygiene at home, it’s also important to visit your dentist every six months, or as often as your dentist recommends for your care. At Cardinal Dental Group, we take great pride in providing all of the same amenities you would find in a much larger town so you don’t have to travel. We offer the latest comprehensive services with advanced cosmetic and restorative care options close to home.