how to protect your oral health by celebrating national handwashing awareness week 5edf9f009071a

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

person washing their hands

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
    nose.

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 Handwashing 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!

About the Author

Dr.
Wayne Myles
is one of the top dentists in Northern Virginia, having helped
patients in the Reston community since 1997. He has attended post-graduate courses
at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies in subjects
like full-mouth reconstructions and complex makeovers. He cares about your oral
health because it’s a window to your overall health, and he believes that
washing your hands can prevent general health problems as well as dental ones. To
learn more, click here
to visit Dr. Myles’ website.

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