Caring for your dental health is a vital component of your overall health care. There are a series of steps that every person should take in order to ensure that your mouth, teeth, and gums are as healthy as they can possibly be. The first step is to establish a regular routine of oral care.
Brushing and Flossing
One of the most basic steps in caring for your dental health is brushing and flossing your teeth. You should brush your teeth at least twice every day, when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. This helps to remove bits of food, bacteria, and plaque. It is particularly important to brush before you go to sleep at night so that food and bacteria aren’t left on your teeth all night while you are sleeping. You should also floss your teeth every day to remove food and plaque that is caught in the spaces between your teeth.
You should replace your toothbrush about every three months. If you notice that the bristles of your toothbrush are fraying or you have been ill recently, you should replace your toothbrush sooner.
Parents should start brushing their children’s teeth as soon as the teeth come in. You can use a small toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste designed for toddlers. Young children don’t know how to spit the toothpaste out after brushing, so toddler toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride that would upset their stomachs if swallowed. You can also use a tiny dab of regular toothpaste.
Ask your dentist about whether your child should take a fluoride supplement. In some neighborhoods, the water supply is fluoridated, but in other neighborhoods it is not. Both too little and too much fluoride can cause dental problems, so ask your dentist for advice on this topic.
Visits to the Dentist
Beginning at around one year of age, all adults and children should visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. At this visit, your teeth will be cleaned and checked for cavities and x-rays may be taken. This is a good time to brush up on proper brushing and flossing techniques and to ask any questions that you might have about your dental health.
Good Eating Habits
You can care for your teeth by watching what you eat. Limit sugary snacks and drinks. If you do indulge, brush afterwards to remove any sugar that has been deposited on your teeth.
Children should not go to bed with a bottle in their mouths. This is a bad habit that leads to a constant flow of sugar over the child’s teeth while they are sleeping. Get in the habit of finishing the bottle before laying your infant down to sleep, and transition your child to a cup instead of a bottle as soon as possible.
Smoking and chewing tobacco are bad habits that can do serious damage to your teeth and mouth. In addition to the serious risk of developing oral cancer, smoking can cause other, less deadly problems. Some of these issues include:
- Buildup of tartar
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Stained teeth
- Slowed healing after dental procedures
If you smoke, your dental health is one of the many reasons that you should quit.
This guide to dental health provides you with the basics of caring for your teeth. For an exam, cleaning, or consultation; contact Dr. TJ Bolt. Dr. Bolt takes a lifestyle approach to complete dental health. We offer complete dental services in a relaxing atmosphere. Call our office to schedule your appointment today.