Family Dental Care 101
Everyone loves a shiny sparkling smile, but good dental care is not just about vanity. One of the most important things you can do for your own and your family’s overall health is to establish good dental care practices. Research shows that gum disease can go way beyond your teeth causing other problems in your body including increased risk of heart disease.
Here are 8 essential tips to keep your teeth strong and healthy:
1. Start Small
Teach your children the importance of dental care from an early age. Caring for your teeth begins as soon as the first one appears—usually around 6 months of age. Parents can clean these tiny teeth with a soft rag or brush. When children are about 2, they can be taught to brush their own with help and supervision.
2. Seal the Deal
1 in 4 children shows signs of tooth decay before starting school and half of kids between 12 and 15 already have cavities. Dentists can apply thin protective coatings to the surface of permanent molars (which start to come in around age 6) to prevent decay in the pits where it generally starts.
3. Twice a Day. Every Day.
Many people tell their dental professionals that they brush and floss twice a day, but they don’t really adhere to these simple guidelines. Make it part of your daily routine to brush and floss morning and night.
4. Change It Up.
You should change your toothbrush regularly. Dental professionals advise switching to a new brush every 3-4 months. If you’re waiting until your biannual dental care check-up, you’re waiting too long. Mark your calendar or set a reminder in your smartphone. It’s also a good idea also to change your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
5. Keep Your Appointments.
Speaking of a new toothbrush, experts recommend a dental care check up every 6 months or more frequently if you’re experiencing problems. Make your next appointment before you leave the office so you don’t have to remember to call and schedule one.
6. Rinse After Meals.
While brushing and flossing twice daily is a great healthy habit to get into, it’s also a good idea to rinse your mouth after eating meals or drinking sugary drinks. Even chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can increase saliva flow, neutralizing acid and cleansing bacteria from your teeth.
7. Eat Smart.
A well-balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats is essential to your dental health. Additionally, avoid sugary snacks and drinks which can erode your teeth’s protective enamel opening the door to decay.
8. Don’t Smoke.
On top of all the other health risks associated with smoking and using smokeless tobacco, it’s bad for your dental health. It can stain your teeth and increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.