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.
Although your toothbrush might look clean when it sits on the ledge of the sink, the bristles could actually be contaminated with microbial organisms that came from your mouth. Those can live on the bristles for weeks. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your toothbrush clean and effective so you can get good use out of it.
Wash Your Toothbrush
Before and after use, rinse the brush with water to remove debris. You may also want to think about investing in a special device, such as a toothbrush sanitizer, that cleans it much more thoroughly and has built-in technology to kill the aforementioned germs.
Store Your Toothbrush Correctly
Keep your toothbrush stored upright in a position that allows it to dry out. Think about using a bristle cover that promotes airflow through small holes. Some people think that keeping the bristles completely covered is ideal, but that trapped moisture can actually foster bacterial growth on the brush.
Know When to Throw the Brush Out
Your toothbrush isn’t designed to last forever. Replace it every three to four months, or whenever the bristles start to show signs of wear. Take a look today! If the bristles are fraying, or bending downwards or sideways instead of standing up straight, it’s time to pick up a new brush.
Don’t Share Your Toothbrush
You should be the only one who uses your toothbrush. Our mouths can be homes for hundreds of different bacteria and viruses. Sharing is a surefire way to spread disease, from a cold to gingivitis, and even HIV or hepatitis B. Although it’s tempting sometimes, don’t share the brush with a significant other or another person in your household.
Replace Brushes After Illnesses
You’ve already learned how germs can live on toothbrushes for a long time. It should make sense then that you need to throw away any toothbrushes a person has used while he or she was sick.
Use these tips to make sure you have a clean toothbrush that will be able to keep your mouth and teeth just as clean.
Toothbrush hygiene is just part of keeping up with your dental health! Regular cleanings and exams are important ways to make sure your teeth stay looking and feeling good. If you don’t have an upcoming appointment somewhere on your calendar, schedule an appointment at Roseman Dental.
To keep your pearly whites as brilliant as possible, you can use the usual whitening methods: expensive professional treatments, gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. There are also simple, everyday habits that can help brighten your smile. Your teeth not only help you speak and eat, but they contribute to your overall appearance. Here are the top three tips to help you keep your teeth sparkling white.
- Replace your toothbrush. Make sure to replace your electric toothbrush head or manual toothbrush every two to three months, or more often if you’ve had a cold. The bristles of the brush transfer germs to your mouth. Also, brush your teeth properly by placing the toothbrush against your gums at a 45-degree angle and lightly move it in a circular motion, not back-and-forth. Hold your toothbrush as you do a pencil so you don’t scrub too vigorously.
- Gargle before brushing with apple cider vinegar. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar in the morning before brushing helps remove stains and whiten your teeth. It will also kill germs lurking on your gums and in your mouth.
- Avoid teeth-staining food. Smoking cigarettes and drinking black tea, cola, and red wine will stain your teeth. Any food or drink that is dark will probably result in stains. Brushing immediately after drinking or eating dark-colored food or drinks can help. You can also use an effective teeth-whitening product from your dentist or over-the-counter.
Eat an apple, also known as nature’s toothbrush, for convenient teeth cleaning action. Crisp, firm foods help clean your teeth while you are eating them, such as popcorn, celery, and raw carrots. For best results, choose these options as the final food in your meal if you won’t be able to brush your teeth right after eating. You’ve worked hard to get your teeth white, so make sure to take the steps necessary to keep them that way.
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.
Many people grind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism, and for many people, it is simply a habit that is hard to break. However, bruxism can lead to numerous dental problems, including jaw pain and loose teeth so as soon as you realize you grind your teeth, there are steps you should take to stop doing it.
Stress is a common reason why people end up grinding their teeth. While there is little you can do to eliminate stress altogether, there are things you can do to reduce it that are safe for your mouth and overall health. For instance, you can start exercising more regularly and get plenty of sleep at night or join a meditation class or support group.
Perform Jaw Exercises
If you still notice you have bruxism, consider seeing a dental professional about getting some physical therapy. There are a number of jaw exercises you can perform on your own at home. This will relax your jaw and strengthen the muscles around it.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
A cup of coffee first thing in the morning is fine, and for some people it’s essential, but you should be careful not to overdo it. Too much caffeine can much you jumpy and jittery, increasing your odds of grinding your teeth. Alcohol also increases your desire to clench your jaw.
Wear a Custom Mouth Guard
There may be nothing you can really do to eliminate bruxism altogether. However, you can see your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear at night. This device will protect your teeth from the effects of the grinding. You can get one custom built so that it fits perfectly over your teeth.
Bruxism may not seem like much at first, but it can lead to serious dental complications down the road. Nip the problem in the bud as soon as you notice it. By taking the necessary actions now, you will be doing yourself a lot of good in the future.