WiRED Notes National Dental Hygiene Month





alloween is right around the corner — and so are the scary effects of sugar. The American Dental Association states that certain trick or treat sweet treats such as sticky, hard or sour candies cause the most harmful dental issues. Sugar from candy that stays on teeth for too long produces plaque, creates cavities and leads to gum disease. To raise awareness of proper dental hygiene, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association named October National Dental Hygiene Month.


WIRED offers a health learning module that provides information on how to practice good dental hygiene by keeping the mouth, teeth, gums and tongue clean and healthy. The module is available in English, Spanish and Armenian. Low-resource communities worldwide do not receive adequate information on how to guard oral health and lack water fluoridation to maintain the healthy composition of teeth and gums. WiRED’s interactive free module offers a preventive program on oral hygiene, which serves communities in places such as Armenia (see earlier story).


Sugar is not the only cause of dental problems. Other factors include tobacco use, excessive alcohol use and poor diet. Adults, especially as they age, can face untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, oral cancer and the consequences that having a chronic disease may have on oral health. However, preventive measures such as using fluoride toothpaste, limiting alcoholic drinks and eliminating smoking can lead to positive outcomes. It is critical for children to use fluoride toothpaste and receive fluoride treatments and dental sealants from a hygienist or dentist. For everyone, no matter the age, the most important component to healthy teeth and gums is paying regular visits to a dental professional.


Oral health is more than just about teeth. Good hygiene influences a person’s ability to taste, smell, smile, speak and make facial expressions. This National Dental Hygiene Month read WiRED’s module to get educated on how to maintain adequate oral health. Also, schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist. And if you splurge on candy this Halloween, be sure to floss and brush your teeth extra well afterwards!



What is Halloween?



In the United States and some other countries, Halloween is a celebration on the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints Day. Children wear costumes and go to people’s homes saying “Trick or treat!” to ask for candy and sweets, and people give it to them. The suggestion is: “Give me a treat, or I will play a trick on you." People dress up as ghosts, witches or other scary creatures for Halloween. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration such as the trick or treat night.






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