I come from a family with poor dental habits, and have married into a family of dentists. So, the last 7 years have been a learning experience with regards to dental care.
Good dental habits should start at an early age, and even if your child does not have teeth, gums should be wiped with a clean soft cloth at least twice a day. By the age of two, children can be introduced to fluoride toothpaste, with a regular morning-night brushing routine. Limit sweets and fruit juices and start flossing teeth as soon as two teeth begin to touch. This is also a good age to introduce children to the dentist, by taking them for an annual visit along with you. Children’s books on dental visits can help make it a less scary proposition.
As an adult, it’s important to maintain a 3 way approach to dental care- home care, professional care and your diet.
HOME CARE would include brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Select an appropriate toothbrush and make sure the bristles reach the furthest corner of your mouth. Use firm, but gentle strokes in a vertical manner and do not press too hard on the teeth or gums. Finish the routine, by cleaning your tongue with either a soft toothbrush or a tongue brush. No matter which you use, the idea is to scrap away the debris and bacteria, which are leading causes of halitosis or bad breath. Remember to scrape from back to front, using some amount of pressure, but not enough to irritate the tongue nodules.
Flossing is often overlooked, but should be done at least once a day, after your final meal of the day and before you go to bed. Flossing helps remove food debris and plaque, which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. An 18″ piece of floss should generally be enough and always floss gently. You may experience some amount of bleeding when you first start, but in time, this should improve. There are a number of types of floss available, waxed and unwaxed and of different flavors. Select one that suits you best and you’ll find it easier to stick to flossing on a daily basis.
If you do use a mouthwash and over the counter whitening agent, it’s best to seek the recommendation of your dentist, as certain whitening agents can in fact, strip the tooth of its enamel.
The second step is a regular visit to your DENTAL PRACTITIONER. It’s recommended that children over 6 and adults make twice yearly visits to the dentist. A regular visit should include cleaning and removing plaque and a full mouth examination. The visit will also take care of any unexpected cavities or dental work. Full mouth dental x-rays are usually taken once in three-five years.
The final step in dental care is to maintain a well balanced DIET. Following a diet low in saturated fats and sugar, and high in fiber, plays an important part in maintaining healthy gums and teeth.
It’s not natural to lose your teeth or have your gums bleed as you age. A good dental routine will go a long way in making certain that dental diseases such as cavities or periodontal disease are prevented, leaving you with a mouthful of healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.