Healthy Teeth For Life: Best Practices For Families
You and your family should aim to maintain healthy teeth.
Healthy gums and teeth signify good oral hygiene.
This way your teeth and gums can last longer and you will require less dental work.
Your children should also know the basics of oral hygiene from a young age so that they continue it in the future.
Best Practices for Healthy Teeth
Oral health problems impact your overall health.
While the main dental health problems are cavities and gum disease, they can further cause malnutrition, speech impediments and tooth loss.
Heart disease and diabetes are also linked with your oral hygiene and health.
Hence, we need to maintain the health of our teeth by using the following practices.
Don’t Skip Brushing TWICE a Day
It goes without saying that you need to brush to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth.
Plaque can harden in your mouth and turn into tartar which you cannot remove only through brushing.
Therefore, you need to get rid of it daily.
While most people definitely brush their teeth in the morning, they may forget to do so at night.
However, brushing your teeth at night is equally important if not more.
It clears all the plaque that is building up because of eating and drinking all day.
Hence, it is essential to not leave it as is and brush before going to sleep.
While brushing is important, the correct way to brush is equally important.
Do you brush for exactly 2 minutes? Have you set a timer to see if you do not stop before that?
You will be surprised to know that most people brush teeth only for 45 seconds.
This means that you won’t be brushing properly. Hence, set a timer so that you do not stop before the 2-minute mark.
Next, also make sure that you brush gently in circular motions rather than in harsh horizontal and vertical motion.
Place the brush at a 45-degree angle and brush gently underneath the gum line.
Similarly, you use should a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Toothbrushes with hard bristles can damage your teeth and so can brushing harshly.
Therefore, brush gently and replace your toothbrush every 3 months when its bristles look frayed as they will no longer work well.
Also, do not forget to brush your tongue.
The tongue traps bacteria that can lead to bad breath and other oral health problems.
Remember to clean it with your teeth and gums.
Add Fluoride In Your Toothpaste and Mouthwash
You may be brushing regularly but does your toothpaste contain fluoride?
Fluoride has great benefits in oral health as it fights against bacteria and germs that can lead to tooth decay and cavity.
Moreover, it provides a protective layer on the enamel to strengthen it and make it less prone to decay.
Even if you brush and floss regularly, you cannot protect your teeth from cavities if you do not use fluoride.
Make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride.
Moreover, when you brush spit out the content and let the fluoride toothpaste stay in contact with your teeth for a while.
Though, remember that children especially under the age of 8 should not use excess fluoride as it can lead to staining.
Hence, give them a pea-size of toothpaste.
You can also add fluoride to your oral care routine by using a mouthwash containing it.
Mouthwashes contain antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine which can reduce the build-up of plaque hence, also stop gingivitis.
Though some may also contain fluoride for additional protection.
Add mouthwashes in your routine as they can contain bad breath and improve your oral health and dental hygiene.
But remember it does not replace brushing and flossing, only complements it. More on that below!
Choose a Good Diet
We know that chocolates, candies and chips are comfort food but they are pretty bad for your mouth.
If you want healthy teeth, you need to limit your intake of sugary drinks and foods, acidic foods and drinks plus starchy foods.
Instead, eat a whole lot of crunchy vegetables, fruits with high water content and start drinking water instead of carbonated and caffeinated drinks.
Processed foods contain sugar and starch.
These are unhealthy for you and your child’s teeth.
Your sugar intake should be less than 10 percent of the total amount of daily calories.
Sugars and starch will convert to acids when they get into your mouth.
These acids will instantly start to erode your tooth enamel hence, they lead to cavities.
The bacteria feed on these acids which make decaying easier.
It is best to decrease the quantity to 5 percent to protect your teeth.
On the other hand, you should eat crunchy fruits and vegetables.
These contain fiber and high water content.
Moreover, let your kids chew big pieces rather than eat mushy foods as it will strengthen their teeth and jaws.
You should also drink water compared to carbonated drinks and sweetened drinks.
Replace the drinks with water so that you consume as few sugars as possible.
While we are talking about consumption, let’s also discuss smoking.
Smoking is detrimental to your overall and oral health.
It can slow down healing and lead to gum disease.
Moreover, it also contributes to bad breath and tooth discoloration.
You will require a teeth whitening session to remove the stains caused by smoking.
Moreover, it also affects your family through passive smoking.
Hence, quit smoking for your and your family’s health.
Floss on a Daily Basis
Flossing helps to remove food particles and debris stuck in areas where your toothbrush or mouthwash may not reach.
It also clears plaque, stimulates the gums and decreases inflammation in the mouth.
You should not slide the floss in between your teeth recklessly.
But push it down to your gum line and gently bring it up the tooth with up and down motion.
Do not snap it too hard as it will cause pain.
If you face some disease or illness whereby you cannot hold the floss properly then try to use dental flossers that are ready to use.
Moreover, you can also use water flossers if you find it difficult to floss.
If you have arthritis, you can hold it properly.
Plus, if you wear braces, then a water flosser will reach certain areas more appropriately than a manual dental floss, areas such as those covered with brackets and wires.
Therefore, if you need to protect your good teeth then you should floss at least once daily.
This will keep the plaque and food debris at bay.
Moreover, it will prevent staining and discoloration of your teeth.
Now that you know what you should adopt and leave, let’s find out what is best for your child’s teeth and oral health.
Best Practices for Children
The number of tooth decay and cavities in children is alarming.
1 in 4 have a decayed tooth before joining a school and neglect is a big reason behind it.
You should start oral and dental care for your child as soon as their first baby tooth erupts.
Your child may get their first tooth at 6 months old.
That is when you start taking care of their oral hygiene.
Wipe their gums and teeth with a warm damp cloth or use a soft brush to do so.
This familiarizes them with the practice of cleaning healthy teeth and it will remove any sugars present on the gum line.
Also, instill the habit of brushing teeth in them by they are 2 years old and have all baby teeth.
Use just a small drop of toothpaste as too much fluoride is not great for them.
You can increase the amount to a pea-size after they cross 3 years.
Remember to supervise them till they are old enough to tie their shoelaces.
Make your children used to sippy cups after they are a year old.
Try to remove bottles and sippy cups before bedtime as the drinks such as milk have sugars that can remain on the teeth causing decay.
You should get your child sealants to place on permanent molars.
The pits and fissures are prone to decay and cavities.
Hence, this sealant coating can protect chewing surfaces which in return prevents your child from getting cavities.
Try to separate your utensils from the child’s as this could transfer the bacteria from your mouth to theirs.
If your children are into sports then make sure they wear mouthguards while playing to protect their teeth.
Also, give them crunchy fruits and vegetables to eat rather than mushy food which will help strengthen their teeth and jaws.
Visit A Dentist Twice A Year
You should remember to book an appointment of your entire family with the dentist at least twice a year after every 6 months.
Your child should visit the dentist by they are a year old.
Regular visits will instill a sense of security in them and make them habitual for dental visits.
Do not think that it is useless to plan a visit for baby teeth as they are the placeholders for permanent teeth.
If your child develops decay and loses a tooth, then it will disrupt the growth of the adult teeth.
Hence, every member of your family should pay a dental visit two times a year.
This will help to check your previous dental work, clear the build-up of plaque and bacteria in a regular cleaning session.
A dental appointment can also look for oral cancer(mouth cancer), decay and other oral health problems.
Hence, remember to book your appointment soon.
Having healthy teeth and gums is essential for your health.
If you want to prevent heart disease and diabetes, you should also take care of what’s inside your mouth.
Implement these practices in your and your family’s daily routine so that you reap the full benefit of having strong and healthy teeth.