Brushing and flossing regularly are essential habits for healthy teeth, but did you know that nutrition is also important to the overall health of your mouth? It’s especially important to help kids start healthy eating habits while they’re young and their teeth are still developing. Here are the top nutrition tips to keep your family’s oral health strong.
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. Giving your baby a bottle at night is okay, but make sure you follow it up with a gentle tooth-brushing session (or simply wiping their 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
The standard American diet is extremely high in sugar. While avoiding sugar entirely may not be practical, 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. Make sure to check the nutrition facts to get the real scoop on how much sugar is involved, even if a beverage claims to be fruit-based. If you or your children do have sweets, make sure to brush soon afterwards.
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. Small changes can make a big difference.
Talk with your dentist about how your nutrition and oral health are connected. If you don’t have your next check-up on the calendar yet, make an appointment with Roseman Dental for affordable quality dental care.
Periodontal disease occurs when the plaque that adheres to the teeth is not effectively removed. Plaque forms when bacteria in the mouth combine with mucus, creating a sticky and damaging substance that attaches to the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly does certainly help minimize the formation of plaque, but any plaque that remains often turns into something called tartar, which cannot be easily brushed or flossed away at home. This is just one reason regular dentist visits are so essential!
To reduce the chances of developing gum disease, it’s important to recognize risk factors. Here’s a look at some of the things that commonly lead to gum disease and ways to prevent them from getting that far:
Each person’s genetics play an important role in determining how healthy their teeth and gums are. So much so, in fact, that some researchers believe that as much as 30% of the population is especially susceptible to gum disease. However, even those who are predisposed to the issue can dramatically reduce their chances of developing it simply by engaging in strong oral hygiene practices. In this case of nature vs. nurture, go for nurture.
While stress in and of itself isn’t a direct contributor to periodontal disease, it has a tendency to weaken the overall immune system. This means that fighting off infections will be tougher in general. In other words, if you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease and are particularly stressed out, it will likely exacerbate the problem. Talk to a doctor if you need help managing stress and its affects.
If someone doesn’t already suffer from periodontal disease, smoking may cause it to develop. If someone is a smoker and already has symptoms of gum disease, continuing the habit will only make the problem worse. The more someone smokes, the greater their risk, so cutting down an existing habit (or better yet, quitting entirely) can pay off in the form of improved oral health.
There are many risk factors associated with periodontal disease. The easiest and most effective ways of reducing the chance of developing it is to practice strong brushing and flossing habits, and visit the dentist at regular intervals. If your next appointment isn’t on the calendar yet, make one with Roseman Dental to keep those gums and teeth healthy.
Oral hygiene is essential for your overall wellbeing, not just your oral health. In fact, gum disease is a major risk factor for developing certain dangerous health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Brushing regularly is one of the best methods for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, how do you know which toothbrush is best to use?
Tips for Choosing a Toothbrush
There are specific features to look for in a toothbrush, regardless of whether it is powered or manual. The variety of styles, sizes, and shapes of toothbrushes available can make choosing the right one overwhelming. Here’s what to look for:
- Expert recommendations. Look for powered or manual toothbrushes with the American Dental Association Seal of Approval. You can also ask your dentist for a recommendation to ensure your toothbrush has passed quality control tests for safety and cleaning effectiveness.
- Bristle options. Manual toothbrushes or replacement heads for your electric toothbrush are available with hard, medium, or soft nylon bristles. Soft bristles are the safest and most comfortable option for most people. You could damage the enamel protecting your teeth, root surface, and gums depending on the strength of the bristles and how vigorously you brush your teeth. Rounded bristle tips offer even more protection.
- Toothbrush head size. The best size of toothbrush head is one that permits easy access to the surfaces of all your teeth. A toothbrush head that’s one-inch tall and a half-inch wide is easy to use for most adults and can reach all of your teeth efficiently. The toothbrush should have a long enough handle to hold it comfortably in your hand.
Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three months or when it begins to show wear, whichever comes first. It is also vital to replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold because the bristles can accumulate bacteria and result in reinfection.
If you are the parent of a baby or toddler and your family has successfully made it through the dreaded teething stage, you may be wondering what the next step is in terms of your child’s oral hygiene and care. Dental professionals agree that the sooner a child can see a dentist, the better. This is particularly true when it comes to preventing dental health issues. Periodontal disease and many other dental problems that commonly affect children are more likely to occur in children who do not receive regular dental care and evaluations.
If you’re thinking it’s not that big of a deal because your child will lose those baby teeth anyway, keep in mind that these issues can lead to a broad range of more significant problems down the line, including nutritional problems from trouble eating and drinking, and problems with speech development and self-esteem.
When to Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), infants and toddlers should have an oral evaluation performed within six months of the appearance of his or her first tooth. Because there’s so much variability among children as to when that first tooth erupts, AAPD recommends visiting a dentist for an evaluation before the child’s first birthday even if that first tooth has yet to appear.
Oral Health at Home
While seeing a dentist early on improves your child’s chances of optimal oral health, there are several other things you can do in the comfort of your own home. AAPD recommends avoiding putting children to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice, and not allowing them to sip on a bottle with those things in it throughout the day either. Both actions increase your child’s chance of tooth decay. If your child has trouble falling asleep without a bottle, make sure it contains only water, and try to take it away entirely before your child hits the one-year mark.
Another tip is to gently wipe their gums and teeth with a soft washcloth to remove bacteria, and to start doing this early on so they get used to it. There are also infant “brushes” that go on the finger.
When it comes to your child’s oral health, prevention is paramount. Taking the aforementioned tips and seeing a dentist early on are the best ways to set your child up for healthy teeth and gums. Roseman Dental offers care for even the youngest members of your family.
For many people, a trip to the dentist is not at the top of their list of favorite things to do. However, most can get through a checkup with relatively low levels of fear or anxiety. For those who have a dental phobia, even thinking about going to the dentist is enough to cause panic. If you are someone who avoids dental offices due to your inability to deal with the sounds, feelings and overall experiences you associate with an oral cleaning or other dental care, then you could be exposing yourself to negative health consequences caused by inadequate oral health.
Pinpoint your fear, and use these tips to manage it:
Fear of the Unknown
If showing up at the dentist and not having a clue what you are about to undergo sends you into a tailspin, then you may benefit from having a full explanation of all procedures prior to your visit. Make sure that your doctor understands your concerns and is willing to discuss your appointment in advance, whether in person, over the phone, or via video call.
Fear of the Dentist
For some people, the dentist himself is an ominous presence that causes fear. A dentist who only comes into the room for a few moments to inflict pain, all while wearing a mask, can be worrisome. If possible, find a professional who can help you break down the doctor-patient barrier by speaking with you, sitting at eye level, and taking other steps to lessen the tension in the room.
Fear of the Equipment
The tray of equipment next to your chair can look like a line-up of torture devices. The equipment can be loud, sharp and terrifying, but if you take the time to hold and inspect each item, you may find that they are not that scary after all. Talk to your dentist about doing this if it’s the instruments that frighten you.
Fear of Feeling Out of Control
Lying back in the examination chair and letting other people look into the mouth can make some patients feel out of control of their situation. If this is the case for you, ask your doctor if you can be leaned back partially or even assist with the process by holding a tool.
The dentist does not have to be a stress-inducing experience if you are willing to work towards feeling more comfortable in the chair.
Providers at Roseman Dental are committed to providing compassionate care to all patients. They’ll talk through your questions and concerns with patience, understanding, and expertise. Make an appointment today and send your fears down the drain (right along with your plaque, and any other mouth germs).