National Handwashing Awareness Month is here again! 

Every year during flu season, we hear about the importance of handwashing, and after the last few years, you’ve probably had it hammered into your head. 

Well, the truth of the matter is that it’s one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of many viruses and bacteria.

You also may not realize how proper handwashing is vital to your dental health and that it’s an important dental habit, too. After all, we all know that touching your mouth can pass along bacteria that can be bad for your teeth.

Learn the whys and how of proper handwashing from your family dentist in McAllen.

Why Hand Washing Matters for Your Dental Health

While dental hygiene includes things like brushing your teeth and regular cleanings from your McAllen dentist, if you floss every day with dirty hands, you’re just introducing more bacteria after you worked so hard to scrub them off your teeth.

Your mouth has what is known as a microbiome, which is a collection of bacteria that help maintain your health. Not all bacteria are bad, with the average person having over 700 different species of bacteria in their mouth. Some of these help protect your teeth but, unfortunately, others will damage your teeth if left alone. 

Over time, bacteria begins to form biofilm, which can turn into plaque and tartar that damages your teeth.

You should be scrubbing every surface of your teeth twice a day to help dislodge this biofilm before it can do its damage. You’ll also need to floss to get bacteria hidden in those hard-to-reach spots. 

If you pay attention, you’ll notice just how much of your hands end up in your mouth as you brush and floss. If you complete these steps with dirty hands, you won’t just increase your chance of getting sick, you’ll also raise your risk of gum disease and all the trouble that brings.

Bacteria introduced from your hands can harm the delicate balance of your microbiome and be introduced into your bloodstream, causing damage to blood vessels. 

The best way to stay safe is to give your hands a wash before you begin your regular routine. This simple addition to your routine will help protect your teeth and your overall health.

How to Properly Wash Your Hands

A quick rinse isn’t enough to budge bacteria from your hands. In fact, wet hands spread more bacteria to other people and any surfaces you touch. If you want to stay healthy, you need to wash your hands the right way. 

The most important factor is how long you scrub. You need to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. That’s about the time it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Here’s what else you need to do:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, flowing water that can be either hot or cold. Next, add plenty of soap.
  2. Turn off the faucet and scrub for 20 seconds. Be sure to get under your nails and every surface of your hands.
  3. Rinse your hands off thoroughly with clean water. 
  4. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them. Wet hands spread bacteria, so you need to dry off.

Keep Up Your Healthy Habits With Heroes Dental

Your McAllen dentist takes handwashing seriously, and here at Heroes Dental, we keep cleanliness in mind. We wash our hands with every glove change to make sure you leave our office with a beautiful, healthy smile.

If it’s time for your next cleaning or checkup, don’t delay. Contact us today to schedule your appointment. 

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