Oral health month is the perfect time for families to reevaluate their oral hygiene routines, schedule dental appointments, learn new ways to care for their teeth and gums, and create oral health goals. Cavities, gum disease, and bad breath affect people of all ages, but with proper care, these issues can be almost completely avoided.
So, if you’re ready to get your oral health back on track, now is the opportune time! Check out these five oral health and hygiene tips for the whole family.
1. Find a dentist you can trust (with your smile and your child’s smile!).
Patients are more likely to visit the dentist when they are comfortable at the dentist’s office. For parents, choosing a dentist for their child is paramount to creating healthy teeth and gums and oral hygiene for a lifetime (no pressure!).
When searching for a dentist for you and your child, think about what is most important to you. This could include a dentist who offers particular services, prioritizes patient comfort, uses the latest dental technology, and a dentist who is known to build relationships with their patients.
For children, parents should seek out a family dentist or pediatric dentist, depending on the child’s particular needs. A family dentist, as opposed to a general dentist, regularly treats children and will likely have a more kid-friendly dental office and approach. Pediatric dentists only treat children, so scheduling appointments for the family may be more inconvenient. However, children with severe or abnormal oral health issues may benefit from having a pediatric dental specialist in their corner.
2. Know which foods help and which ones hurt oral health.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can be a great way to improve your oral health:
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in calcium, which is important for strengthening teeth and bones.
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots can help clean teeth and stimulate saliva production, which can help neutralize harmful acids in the mouth.
- Dairy products like cheese and yogurt are also great for your teeth, as they contain calcium and other minerals that can help strengthen tooth enamel.
- Green tea contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and fight oral bacteria.
It is important to be mindful of the foods we consume as some can harm our teeth and gums. Sugary and starchy foods like candy, cookies, bread, and chips stick to teeth and cause tooth decay. Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, soda, and sports drinks can erode tooth enamel and lead to sensitivity and cavities. It is best to limit these types of foods and opt for healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products that can help strengthen teeth and gums.
3. Learn proper brushing and flossing techniques.
How you brush and floss your teeth is just as important as the actual act of brushing and flossing your teeth. In fact, if you aren’t brushing and flossing properly, you may not be reaping all of the benefits.
Proper brushing involves brushing twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoride toothpaste. Technique matters, too though. When brushing, place the brush at a 45-degree angle and gently move the brush in a circular motion across each tooth. Be sure to clean the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of each tooth and to brush along the gum line. Finally, brush your tongue.
To achieve the best results when flossing, it is important to use a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long. Then, wrap the floss around your index fingers and use your thumbs to guide the floss between your teeth. Gently slide the floss up and down against the side of each tooth, making sure to clean both sides of each tooth. Be sure to also floss beneath the gum line, but avoid snapping the floss against your gums.
4. Make oral hygiene fun for your child!
Does your little one hate brushing and flossing? Thankfully, there are several ways to make this process more enjoyable for both of you!
- Buy a fun toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Take your child to the store and let him or her pick out their oral hygiene tools and products. They will be excited to use their favorite tv character, color, or flavor every day to clean their teeth!
- Allow them to watch a video while brushing. Find a two-minute music video or educational video for your child to watch while he or she is brushing to make the time go by faster.
- Offer a weekly or monthly reward. If your child brushes and flosses every day for a week or month, offer to take them to the store to buy a toy or treat.
When it comes to oral hygiene for kids, it's best to think outside the box! Talk to our team during your next visit about more ideas for helping your child enjoy taking care of their teeth.
5. Determine your smile goals.
What do you dislike about your teeth? Whose smile would you like yours to mirror? These questions can help you determine your smile goals. Whether you want to achieve optimal oral health, correct imperfections, or make a small cosmetic change, our team can create a comprehensive smile makeover plan that meets your needs.
Schedule Your Dental Appointment
Begin your journey to a healthier and more beautiful smile this Oral Health Month by scheduling a dental cleaning and exam appointment. Call our office today! We look forward to meeting you.