Do you remember being a little kid and your parents telling you to wash up before dinner? Did you ever think it was strange that they never told you to wash your hands before eating breakfast, lunch, or a snack? Since germs don’t care what meal you’re about to have, it’s crucial to wash your hands before you place your hands anywhere near your mouth, such as when you’re eating. Because the first week of December is National Handwashing Awareness Week, now is the perfect time to learn from a dentist how best to keep your hands clean.
How to Celebrate National Handwashing Awareness Week
There are three main ways to celebrate this month in style:
Learn the Four Principles of Hand Awareness
The four principles, which have been endorsed by both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association, are:
- Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating.
- Don’t cough into your hands.
- Don’t sneeze into your hands.
- Don’t put your fingers near your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Memorize the Five Steps
There are five basic steps to handwashing, which are:
Use the Right Techniques
Experts recommend washing your hands with clean water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Once you get a good lather going, make sure you scrub the back of your hands as well as between your fingers and under your nails. Use a clean towel to dry them off.
Why It’s Important to Have Clean Hands
Handwashing has been called a “do-it-yourself vaccine” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and for good reason. According to the CDC, washing your hands can prevent one in five infections, including the flu. At this time of year, that is critical.
We tend to put our hands in and around our mouths all the time, even though we really shouldn’t. If you don’t wash the bacteria you touch on a regular basis off of your hands, that bacteria could get in your mouth and cause infection, not to mention dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. This is why your dentist says it’s crucial to celebrate National Handwashing Awareness Week, not just this week but year-round.
About the Author
Dr. Dan Maurer earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. He followed in his father’s footsteps by practicing at Longmont Complete Dentistry in Longmont, CO. His patients admire him for his friendliness and unwavering dedication to finding personalized and pain-free treatment for their dental problems. To learn more tips on how to keep your teeth clean, contact Dr. Dan’s office at (303) 772-7000.