For some, brushing their teeth has become a dreaded chore. The nagging feeling of having to stroll to the bathroom sink and stand at attention with a toothbrush has haunted many since the beginning of oral health. Children and adults alike seem to struggle with brushing and flossing their teeth consistently, but there’s a number of reasons why maintaining a healthy mouth is important.
The benefits of healthy teeth are fairly obvious to most people. After all it’s one of the first things we notice when meeting someone for the first time. Healthy gums, on the other hand, isn’t as easily noticed. Let’s be honest, having healthy gums does not come up at the water cooler at work, but maintaining healthy gums can greatly prevent some major health issues, such as lowering the risk of heart disease.
In this two part series, Shreveport dentist, Dr. Chris Mott shares some simple tips on how to help keep your family’s teeth strong and healthy throughout their life.
Be Sure to Floss and Brush Twice a Day
“Your teeth are absolutely perfect! You must floss all the time and brush your teeth all the time,” is not always what comes out of our dentist’s mouth when we show up for a cleaning. As adults, we reassure our dentist that we’ll make a “better effort” to floss. This small daily chore can play a pivotal role in preventing gum diseases and tooth decay for all ages, not just your older adults.
It’s also important to change toothbrushes three or four times a year. Those with braces may need special toothbrushes and other similar tools to brush and clean their teeth. If a person with arthritis finds it difficult to hold a toothbrush or use floss, he could use an electric toothbrush or place a cycle grip on a regular toothbrush handle for an easier grip.
Teach Children at a Young Age
Always implement healthy dental practices as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. This will happen at around 6 months. Clean their teeth with a clean, damp cloth, or a very soft brush if they are very young, but you can let your child brush for himself at the age of 2.
Always supervise your child until you are sure that he can handle the toothbrush on his own without hurting himself or dropping it on the floor. By teaching your child to brush at a young age, you can prevent developing tooth decay and cavities!
Rinse After Eating or Chew Gum
Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse also helps prevent decay and gum problems. If you are not able to rinse after you eat, try chewing sugar-free gum after meals to help increase saliva flow. The saliva will wash bacteria away and neutralize acids you have eaten during your meal.
Get Sealants at a Young Age
When permanent molars develop at the age of six, you can apply a thin protective coating, or sealant, on the back teeth chewing surfaces to help prevent decay of pits and fissures. It’s important to have your teeth sealed as soon as possible to prevent decay at early on. Unfortunately, only a third of children in the U.S. use dental sealants.
Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits
A healthy, well-balanced diet of grains, nuts, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables is important for healthy teeth and gums. Even omega-3 fats in fish can help reduce inflammation and the risk of gum disease. Eating foods that are good for you will help build strong teeth and prevent breakage.
Stay tuned for next week, as your Shreveport dentist, Dr. Mott, shares more tips on maintaining a healthy mouth. If you have any questions, contact our office for more information on how you can keep your mouth in tip-top shape!