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    Bataan Raises Awareness During National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month

    October is National Dental Hygiene Awareness month. This year the focus is on four routines to help maintain a healthy smile: brush, floss, rinse and chew.

    The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan’s (LHD 5) dental officer, Lt. (Dr.) Aaron Keith offers easy advice for you and Bataan’s crew to keeping a healthy smile.

    “Brush two to three times per day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste,” says Keith. “Each brushing session should last two minutes with the toothbrush head angled 45 degrees toward the area of the tooth that meets the gum tissue. Small circular motions should be used, working your way around the mouth, spending 30 seconds in each quadrant.”

    According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing should be done once daily to effectively remove food debris and plaque from between the teeth. Flossing also helps stimulate the gums and lower gum inflammation. After flossing, rinsing with mouthwash aids in killing any lingering bacteria not removed through brushing and flossing. Using mouthwash also helps to reduce the amount of acid in the mouth, cleaning the areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush and re-mineralizing the teeth. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes increases saliva flow; helping to prevent tooth decay and combating bad breath.

    “Tooth decay occurs due to the bacteria in our mouths feeding on the same refined carbohydrates that we enjoy, which they use to produce acid,” says Keith. “This acid in turn decalcifies and breaks down tooth structure causing cavities. This process can be combated by limiting exposure to refined carbohydrates.”

    Some examples of refined carbohydrates are: white bread, pastas, white rice, crackers and cakes.

    There is a very important link between a person’s oral health and their overall health. “Bad oral hygiene can ultimately lead to odontogenic infections that can spread to areas of the head, neck and beyond that can become a serious threat to life in a matter of hours,” says Keith. “A more long-term health concern is the link between poor oral health and chronic cardiac diseases.”

    Oral disease is preventable. Establishing a good oral hygiene routine and sticking to it can make all the difference.

    “Understanding the process of tooth decay and adapting a good oral hygiene routine will certainly go a long way in achieving sound oral health and ultimately preventing oral disease,” says Keith. “A Sailor that is ready to fight needs to be in good overall health, of which oral health plays a large role.”



    Date Taken: 10.18.2019
    Date Posted: 10.18.2019 20:08
    Story ID: 348310
    Location: ATLANTIC OCEAN

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