How to Protect Your Oral Health by Celebrating National Handwashing Awareness Week

As children, we’re often taught to wash our hands before dinner. Germs, unfortunately, don’t care what time of day it is and can wreak havoc at all hours. Clean hands prevent you from getting bacteria in your mouth that can cause sickness. So, it’s important to learn how to keep your hands clean. This is the perfect time of year to learn about that, since the first week of December is National Handwashing Awareness Week. A dentist is here to tell you how to celebrate, and the benefits of washing your hands frequently.

How to Celebrate National Handwashing Awareness Week

Here are three ways you can celebrate this week in style:

Learn the Right Techniques

Scientists recommend washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Get a good lather going and wash off the backs of your hands, as well as under your fingernails and between your fingers. Finally, dry your hands off using a clean towel.

Memorize the Five Steps

Handwashing has been called a “do-it-yourself vaccine” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because it helps keep bacteria that cause disease at bay. The CDC also recommends following the five steps when washing your hands:

  1. Wet
  2. Lather
  3. Scrub
  4. Rinse
  5. Dry

Learn the Four Principles of Hand Awareness

The four principles, as endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians, are:

  1. Wash your hands before eating and when they’re dirty.
  2. Don’t cough into your hands.
  3. Don’t sneeze into your hands.
  4. Don’t put your fingers in your mouth, eyes, or

Why Having Clean Hands Is So Important

There are lots of bacteria in your mouth already – many of them beneficial. However, there are some that are detrimental and can cause tooth decay and gum disease, especially when more bad bacteria are added into the mix. This occurs when you don’t wash your hands and then eat or put your fingers in your mouth.

There are so many things that we touch on a daily basis. Now imagine how many of those things were touched by other people’s hands. Think of all the things they have touched throughout their days. Gross, right? That’s why you should wash your hands several times a day, especially before eating, and refrain from placing your fingers in your mouth.

This year for National Hand-washing Awareness Week, celebrate in style by implementing the tips listed above into your daily life. It doesn’t take long at all, and your teeth and gums will thank you!