Take a step back and think about the importance of instilling proper dental hygiene into your kids. Not only can you save thousands of dollars in insurance costs down the road, but so much time and headaches as well.
Too many adults have to get their teeth fixed in retrospect, while proper dental care habits could have served as preventative measures in their youth. With that being said, let’s look at some habits to teach your family.
Most people are aware they should brush their teeth at least twice a day. However, not all brushing techniques are equal. There is a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth.
The right way
- Use small circular motions, focusing on the front, back, and top of each tooth.
- Brush for between 2 to 3 minutes.
- Exert consistent yet gentle pressure.
- Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Brush the teeth, gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth.
The wrong way
- Less than 2 minutes.
- Back and forth brushing motions.
- Focusing only on the front or the back or the top surface of the teeth.
- Brushing with too much force.
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush.
- Only brushing the teeth.
If you brush your teeth the wrong way, you may not be effective in removing all the harmful bacteria and plaque on your teeth. Brushing too hard or with the wrong toothbrush can leave your teeth and gums more sensitive.
Change your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles become frayed.
Use mouthwash and floss
Mouthwashes can provide extra protection against oral disease and decay like cavities by washing away stubborn food particles. Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine or essential oils control plaque and gingivitis. Using mouthwash does not negate the need to brush and floss your teeth.
Ask your dentist in Derby which mouthwash is best suited to your needs and current oral health.
Flossing removes hard to reach plaque and bacteria from in between the teeth. When flossing, do not snap the floss up and down. You should reach the gumline and hug the side(s) of the tooth on the way back up to effectively remove plaque.
Cut down on sugary food consumption
Sugar is one of, if not the singular leading cause for cavity development. Most people think sugar is only found in sweets and cakes, but sugars can also be present in savoury and processed foods.
At the very minimum, reduce your sugar intake to below 10% of your daily calories. Consuming less than 5% can greatly diminish your risk of dental complications.
Say NO to tea and coffee
To protect your dental health and keep your teeth pearly white, avoid tea and coffee. Although delicious, these drinks can stain your teeth’s surface. Choose water or milk instead, which work to strengthen your enamel and are healthy for your entire body.
Dental tips for parents
It is vital to take care of your child’s dental health as dental issues can cause bigger problems down the line.
Rules to follow before the first erupted tooth:
- Clean your baby’s gums every day with a warm, wet washcloth.
- Never put them go to bed with bottles or Sippy cups.
- Wane your infant off baby bottles by their first birthday.
General rules to follow:
- Keep toothpaste stored away when not in use.
- Milk or juice is only for mealtimes, not throughout the day.
- Never share your utensils with your child or clean their pacifier by placing it in your mouth.
Rules to follow after the first tooth and on:
- Brush their teeth twice a day with a baby toothbrush and a tiny amount of toothpaste.
- Once the child starts to clean their teeth independently, stay close by and supervise.
- Bring your child to a dentist within six months of their first erupted tooth appearing, or at their first birthday – whichever comes first.
Visit your dentist
Visit your dentist once every six months for a check-up. Regular check-ups leads to early detection of dental problems, ensuring they can be taken care of quickly and efficiently.
Reduce your intake of sodas and other sugary drinks
Sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks lead to a higher cavity risk. By cutting them out of your diet, you keep your teeth safe from decay – and keep your body healthy.
Sodas also contain the mineral phosphorus, and while it is essential for oral health, if it is consumed in high quantities, it can deplete your calcium levels and adversely impact your oral health.
Maintain a healthy diet for healthy teeth
Certain foods, called “functional foods,” support excellent dental health.
Functional foods include:
- Aged cheese like cheddar, which neutralises plaque acids.
- Raisins contain phytochemicals which kill plaque bacteria.
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, cucumbers increase saliva production and remove surface stains from your teeth naturally.
- Products high in phosphorous (meat, eggs, & fish) coupled with foods high in calcium like milk and cheese can help to remineralise your teeth.
- Cranberries contain polyphenols which prevent plaque from adhering to your teeth.
Your dentist and hygienist can educate you on the correct way to brush and floss your teeth, as well as provide nutrition advice for each member of your family.
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