Even with regular professional oral checkups and taking care of your teeth in between visits at home, bacteria still form in your mouth. Proteins and food byproducts mix to form a film on your teeth called dental plaque.
Prevention Routine for Plaque Buildup
Only a dental professional can remove plaque from your teeth once it has formed. Visiting your dentist every six months eliminates tartar and plaque that might have formed and prevents further problems. Preventing plaque buildup on your teeth is not that hard. It requires following a daily routine, limiting your daily sugar and starch intake, and drinking plenty of water after eating. Here’s how to get started on a daily plaque-prevention routine:
- Brush every day. To remove plaque and prevent tartar, brush regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Toothpaste. A tartar-control fluoride toothpaste helps prevent plaque from hardening into tartar. The fluoride helps repair enamel damage.
- Floss. Clean between your teeth. No matter how well you brush, flossing is the only way to remove plaque between your teeth and keep tartar out of hard-to-reach spaces.
- Rinse daily. Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash daily helps destroy bacteria that leads to plaque.
Plaque can build up if not removed through regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. The associated bacteria can infect your teeth and gums, and also the bone and gum tissue that support your teeth.
Keeping Dental Plaque at Bay
Dental plaque is a natural result of eating. It will eventually harden into tartar if it’s not removed by a professional. If you cannot brush between meals, rinse your mouth out with water to help reduce plaque acids. Chewing sugarless gum stimulates the flow of saliva and is also beneficial. Choose products containing xylitol, which is a low-calorie sweetener that helps prevent plaque.
You probably think that as long as you brush and floss every day your oral health should be fine. While brushing and flossing is critical for oral health, there are other actions you can take to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy and avoid bad breath. One of those actions includes scraping your tongue.
Better Dental Health
The reason why you need to brush your teeth every day is so that you can remove harmful plaque. However, bacteria are also capable of building up on your tongue. If too much develops, then you are at an increased risk of having gum disease or receding gums. Scraping your tongue removes bacteria for added protection against these diseases.
Reduced Chance of Halitosis
While halitosis can come from a number of sources, one of the most common is simply a buildup of food and bacteria within your mouth. Brushing helps, but tongue scraping removes bacteria you ordinarily would not get with your toothbrush.
Experience Flavor Better
When bacteria and mucus develop on your tongue, they can block your taste buds and prevent you from fully experiencing the flavor of the food you are eating. This can even lead to false cravings for certain types of unhealthy foods. By opening up your taste buds, you can truly appreciate your meal. This also allows your body to better assimilate food and digest it more effectively.
While at first this may seem like just another thing you have to do in your morning or nightly routine, the benefits are great. It also does not take very long to thoroughly scrape your tongue. Scraping it between five and 10 times is typically all that is needed and you can find a tongue scraper fairly easily by visiting your local pharmacy or seeing your dentist for his or her opinion.
Finding your child a dentist is something like hiring a lawyer – you don’t want to just pick one at random. That being said, it is recommended that kids see their first dentist when either their first tooth grows in or they reach their first birthday for their best chance at establishing healthy, lifelong oral hygiene habits.
How should you go about picking a pediatric dentist, however, and how can you be sure to find one that is experienced, professional and yet still great at making little ones feel at ease? When it comes to the initial search, consider the following.
Casting a Net to find a Qualified Pediatric Dentist
When on the hunt for a qualified pediatric dentist, you may find it helpful to:
- Consult friends or family members. A personal recommendation from a long-time client is tough to top.
- Check out the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry database and search it for professionals in your area.
- Ask your pediatrician. Few people have a better grip on child health care needs and offerings in your community than your existing pediatrician.
- Search local review sites. This is also a great way to gather more information about a potential pediatrician you haven’t quite decided whether to see.
Once you have a few prospective professionals, you can start to research them further by name.
Additional Considerations in Choosing a Pediatric Dentist
Some parents prefer to have their children visit the same dental office that they do. If this sounds like you, that may be fine, depending on the age of your children. However, many younger children benefit from cheery, brightly colored environments designed and intended for kids. They also may find that the waiting room in pediatric dentist’s offices generally have more to offer the younger set than a few old magazines.
Finally, consider the unique needs and personality traits of your child. If they are generally timid or fearful of the dentist, you’ll want to factor this in in making your final decision and be sure to choose an office where he or she will feel especially comfortable and at ease.
As an adult, you’re probably well aware that your best chance at healthy teeth and gums involves brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding sugar and acidic foods, and making periodic visits to the dentist, but can you honestly say you gave your teeth and gums the same degree of attention when you were a child?
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, making it a great time to instill those healthy habits that you now know by heart. A lot of kids visit the dentist and then practice strong dental hygiene for several weeks, but all too often, the “importance” of maintaining healthy teeth and gums starts to fade, and the brushing and flossing instances become fewer and farther between. Here’s what your kids need to know this month and every month to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent tooth deterioration and related problems down the line.
The Longer Sugar Sits on Your Teeth, the Greater the Damage
When you eat or drink a lot of sugar, that sugar produces acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. Generally, the more sugar you eat, the higher your chances of tooth decay. While it’s not realistic to avoid all sugar altogether for the rest of your life, it’s wise to brush as soon as possible after consuming sugary foods and drinks in an effort to minimize the time sugar sits in your mouth – and therefore, the damage it does to your teeth. Brushing twice a day is great, but brushing after every meal is even better.
Brush (at Least) Twice a Day for Two Minutes at a Time
Teach your kids to brush in the morning, at night and ideally, in between. Brushing twice daily is critical for preventing tooth decay and eliminating embarrassing problems like bad breath, but it’s also important that you brush for long enough to make an impact. A full two minutes is the recommendation, so get your kids a timer or have them use a cell phone or clock to ensure they’re brushing vigorously for the entire two-minute period.
Follow these tips and make sure your kids visit the dentist regularly for their best chance at beautiful, long lasting and healthy teeth and gums.
There are many worthwhile resolutions to set for the New Year, but if you have always set a goal to be healthier there is something you should know: good dental health can help with your overall health. You will thank yourself in the future for making your mouth a priority, so to help you in your efforts, consider the following goals.
Brush and Floss Twice a Day
Good teeth are often the result of good oral hygiene. It is important to brush and floss twice each day to prevent gum disease and decay. You should also change your toothbrush a few times each year.
It is also smart to look for toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain fluoride. This can strengthen the enamel on your teeth. However, it should be used sparingly, especially in young children.
Rinse After Eating
Rinsing your mouth with water or brushing your teeth after meals is a great habit that can promote oral health. Rinsing your mouth can minimize bacteria and help prevent gum problems.
Choose the Right Foods
The foods you eat can also improve your oral health. There is research that indicates that omega-3 fats strengthen your gums and reduce disease. It is also a good idea to eat a well-balanced diet that is filled with protein (lean meats), grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. In addition, try to avoid consuming too much sugar as an abundance of sugar can cause the enamel on the teeth to decay.
Get Regular Checkups
Regular appointments with a dentist can also help you prevent oral health issues and care for your teeth. If you have young children, make sure they visit the doctor early. In most cases, every six months is appropriate for a checkup. However, people with gum disease should see the dentist more often.
Make these goals a part of your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions. By following them, you can promote oral health and enjoy a beautiful smile.