Healthy Teeth for Life: 8 Tips for Families
1.Start children early. Dental care should begin as soon as a child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months. At about age 2, you can let kids try brushing for themselves – although it’s important to supervise.
2. Seal off trouble. Permanent molars come in around age 6. Thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, called Sealants, can significantly reduce caries. Talk to your dental professional.
3. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems – and not just for older people. Along with the basic advice, remember:
-Toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.
-Teenagers with braces may need to use special toothbrushes and other oral hygiene tools to brush their teeth. Talk to your orthodontist.
-Older people with arthritis or other problems may have trouble holding a toothbrush or using floss. Some people find it easier to use an electric toothbrush.
4. Rinse after meals. In addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems.
5. Don’t smoke. Tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you smoke, consider quitting. Counsel your kids not to start.
6. Eat smart. At every age, a healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods – including grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products – will provide all the nutrients you need.
7. Avoid sugary foods. When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, opening the door to decay. Sticky candies are another culprit, because they linger on teeth surfaces.
8. Make an appointment. Most experts recommend a dental check-up every 6 months – more often if you have problems like gum disease. During a routine exam, your dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque build-up that you can’t brush or floss away and look for signs of decay.