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.
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.
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.
You have probably heard that mouthwash is a valuable addition to any dental hygiene routine, but you may not understand why. Simply swishing a tingly liquid around in your mouth may not seem like a big deal, but new research published in 2013 shows that patients who use an effective mouth rinse along with their tooth-brushing routine are able to reduce their gingivitis and plaque significantly. Here is a simple explanation of how mouthwash works.
Toothbrush Reach is Limited
Although toothbrushes are extremely helpful for removing plaque and bacteria from the visible surfaces of the teeth, they are not able to get into the cracks and crannies where bacteria love to grow and flourish. Mouthwash, on the other hand, is able to reach almost 100 percent of the various surfaces in the mouth, which makes it invaluable (along with floss) for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.
Some types of mouthwash are formulated to have anti-plaque and antiseptic properties. This means that individuals who rinse with antiseptic mouthwashes may be able to kill a significant portion of the bacterial plaque found within the mouth. When used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing, mouthwash can offer the following benefits:
- Reduced tooth decay
- Decreased instances of bad breath
- Reduced chance of developing gingivitis
How Mouthwash is Used
Mouthwash is most effective when it is forcefully swished around the mouth. This action helps the mouthwash to reach the gaps between the teeth and remove food particles and bacteria from those areas. Individuals who have bad breath are also encouraged to gargle with mouthwash because the bacteria that cause bad breath often reside in the back of the tongue and throat.
It is important not to swallow mouthwash, though, since it may contain alcohol and other ingredients that are not safe for ingestion. In order to discourage swallowing, it is recommended that you only put a pre-measured amount of mouthwash in your mouth at a given time.
Improve Your Dental Health with Mouthwash
If you want to add to your current dental regimen and improve your dental health even more, purchase high-quality mouthwash and use it on a regular basis.