Dental Care: Take Charge

Your teeth and mouth are an extremely important part of your body. If you don’t take care of oral health, you may experience a range of problems from difficulty and pain when trying to eat and talk to severe inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss. By adhering to a basic regimen, you enjoy a better chance of having healthy teeth for a lifetime.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes. Take care to thoroughly target every surface, including teeth near the back of your mouth that are harder to reach. Use fluoride toothpaste and make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, and floss once a day.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

Ideally, you should visit a dentist regularly for professional cleanings, and more often if you cope with problems such as sensitivity, crooked teeth or excessive decay. During appointments, be sure to ask the provider if he or she has any specific suggestions for how you should best care for your teeth at home between appointments.

Instill Good Oral Health Habits

Proper dental care begins at a young age. Soon after your baby is born, wipe his or her gums with a soft cloth. That gets the infant used to having someone gently tend to his or her mouth. Then, once teeth begin to break through the gums, brush them gently with water and a baby-sized toothbrush.

Once a child is old enough, instruct him or her how to properly brush teeth and emphasize how important it is that the toothpaste gets spit into the sink rather than swallowed. Always just use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, so if any accidental swallowing does occur, there shouldn’t be any harmful consequences.

It’s also important that you set a good example for kids by brushing your own teeth well and visiting your dentist regularly.

Thanks to proactive measures like these, you can avoid many major dental problems and enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile for your whole life.

Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Everyone knows that brushing and flossing regularly are essential habits for healthy teeth, but did you know that nutrition also plays an important role in the overall health of your mouth? It is especially important to help kids adopt healthy eating habits while they are young and their teeth are still developing. Here are the top nutrition tips you should follow if you care about your children’s oral health.

1. Don’t Put the Baby to Bed With a Bottle

Many people like to put their baby to bed with a bottle of milk or other drink. However, this seemingly harmless practice actually allows bacteria to flourish and can lead to tooth decay. It is ok to give your baby a bottle at night, but make sure you follow it up with a gentle tooth-brushing session (or simply wiping his or her gums with a warm washcloth if they don’t have teeth yet) before putting your baby in bed.

2. Eat Plenty of Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

Fresh vegetables and fruits stimulate the mouth to produce saliva, which acts as a natural tooth-cleansing agent and can make the mouth less acidic. Plus, vegetables and fruits contain healthy vitamins and minerals that promote strong, healthy teeth and mouths.

3. Avoid Sugary Foods

The standard American diet is extremely high in sugar, and while it may not be practical to avoid sugar altogether, it is best to limit consumption of sweets and sodas since they increase the risk of cavities. Even so-called “fruit” drinks contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar and should not be consumed in excess. If you or your children do have sweets, make sure to brush soon afterwards.

4. Drink Water With Food

Drinking water with each meal helps to wash away food particles and bacteria that might otherwise become stuck on or between the teeth and contribute to tooth decay. Taking a drink of water immediately after a meal serves the same purpose and can keep your mouth from becoming too dry.

A nutritious diet is just as important for oral health as brushing and flossing. Improving your current diet can be as easy as adding an extra portion of vegetables or fruit to a meal, eating fewer sweets and increasing your water intake. 

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Does biting into an ice cream cone make you cringe instead of smile? Does sipping on hot cocoa make your teeth tingle and cause pain? Most people will feel some sensation when their teeth touch food or drinks that are at temperature extremes, but if you notice it enough that you want to avoid certain foods, you may have sensitive teeth. Sensitivity can develop when the gum line begins to recede and the enamel starts to erode. Fortunately it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem.

1. See Your Dentist

You’ve heard it before: see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. Semi-annual visits to the dentist are the easiest way to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy. If you are experiencing pain, your doctor can rule out any serious problems.

2. Change Your Toothpaste

Toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth aren’t just gentler to your mouth: they contain chemicals to protect them. Under your enamel is dentin, which has tubules that lead to nerves. Potassium nitrate can literally plug those tubules, thus preventing subsequent pain. Strontium chloride encourages minerals in saliva to harden over them as well. Let the foamy paste sit a bit before rinsing to allow the compound to soak in.

3. Update Your Toothbrush

Soft bristles are also important. A hard brush and intense scrubbing may seem like an effective way to get rid of tooth grime, but both can actually damage your tooth enamel. Using a soft brush to gently massage your teeth and gums is much more effective at cleaning and protects them from permanent harm. Gum erosion is often the result of brushing too hard. Switching to an electric toothbrush can help because it is pressure-sensitive.

Simple changes can make a big difference in giving you back a healthy smile. First rule out serious problems by visiting the dentist, then you can try changing the way your brush your teeth each day and after a few weeks you should be able to enjoy a cold drink again.