In our office, we do what we can to educate patients about the steps they can take to promote good oral health. Taking care of teeth is a lifetime activity. It is something that must start early from the time that a child’s first tooth erupts and does not end until a person dies. Taking care of teeth is one of the most important things that a person can do for the lifetime of their health.
Getting on a regular schedule of dental visits is part of this important process. We recommend coming to our clinic on a biannual basis or at a minimum, once per year. Coming in twice a year allows us to remove plaque and tartar on the teeth, identify signs of decay, and take preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of a patient getting cavities.
Regular checkups are especially important for young patients who are going to have a harder time brushing and flossing on their own. In addition to visiting our dental office twice per year, we recommend that parents and children take very specific steps to improve oral health at home.
Everything that a person eats or drinks must go through their mouth and therefore touch the teeth. While many people think about food and beverages in terms of calorie content and what they might do to the body’s size or health, few people think about effects on the teeth. Some foods and drinks are highly acidic with a low pH level. Thus, these foods and drinks can begin to erode the enamel on the teeth. Erosion will weaken the teeth and make it more likely that the teeth will break or suffer decay.
Some things to avoid include all forms of soda, most juices, and energy drinks. Even flavored water can be highly acidic and bad for the teeth. Sour candies are the very worst kind because of their acid content and sugar. People need to avoid or heavily limit all foods that are high in sugar. Even highly processed foods such as crackers and chips can be more dangerous for the teeth.
We recommend that patients consume foods and beverages that strengthen the teeth instead. This includes drinking milk and eating cheese. Eating nuts, green vegetables, crunchy vegetables, and lean protein are also helpful. These foods can actually strengthen the teeth by working to remineralize them and combat the effects of daily eating and brushing.
In our family dentist office, we are happy to show patients how to properly brush and floss their teeth. Oral hygiene comes down not only to frequency but also how a person performs the simple task. Even though it may seem easy, there is a proper form to brushing teeth. We recommend that the brush start at the top of the gums and move toward the center of the mouth to move the plaque away from the gumline.
We also recommend patients brush for a full two minutes twice per day. Since proper brushing can be challenging for children, we recommend they use a soft electric toothbrush with a timer. Children may have more fun using it instead of a normal brush and know that it is important to keep brushing until it turns off on its own.
We also demonstrate proper flossing techniques. Many people make the mistake of stopping at the top of the gumline. It is best to keep going, flossing between the teeth and gums to remove plaque from these areas. When one does this daily, proper brushing and flossing reduce the likelihood of a person developing tooth decay or gum disease.
Call and schedule an appointment with a family dentist to learn more about how we can help to improve the oral health of your family.