Keeping a Bright Smile

By Adam Chick

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 1:43 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) February is Dental Health Awareness Month and local dentists are urging residents to take the health of their mouths seriously.

"Unless you have any questions or concerns or anything like that I think what you're doing is fine. Regular six month cleaning, twice a year like they recommend, American Dental Association, brushing a couple times a day, flossing, I think you're in good shape," said Pam Bouton, D.D.S., when talking to patient David French.

That's good news for French, who doesn't mind going to the dentist for his regular check up.

"I'm happy with them, and happy with the cleaning, too. So everything seems to be pretty well and I've got a good bite," French said.

"It's all tied together and keeping a healthy mouth is just part of keeping a healthy body."

Odds are you already know how to keep your mouth healthy. It's as simple as following the advice you've been given your whole life.

"Brushing a couple of times a day. You know flossing is very important to keep the gum health and the in-between cavities," Bouton said.

Flossing is often neglected, Bouton said. Some people -- the very young or the very old -- may be physically unable to floss, but there are ways around that.

"There are different flossing aids and things like that. So don't be shy if you're having trouble flossing or you're just not getting the hang of it. It's important to say something because there are other alternatives that you can use," Bouton said.

Brushing for a full two minutes a day is ideal. But, Dr. Bouton says most people are only brushing for 30 or 40 seconds.

Even she's guilty of that sometimes.

"Oh I absolutely do. Everybody's in a hurry these days," Bouton said.

The important thing is to get into a routine. Use an egg timer, the timer on your cell phone, do whatever it takes to keep that smile bright.

Also remember that young children might look like they're doing a good job brushing their teeth, but they might only be getting the front. Dentists urge keeping a close eye on children to ensure they're keeping all of their teeth clean.