February is National Children’s Dental Health month, and we’re here to help parents and children celebrate the right way – by learning better oral health practices.
Maintain a Regular Oral Health Routine
Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session. By brushing for the proper amount of time, you help ensure that you are cleaning all of the bad bacteria off of your teeth and preventing cavities. Be sure to brush the entire surface of their teeth, including the backside– which is often neglected.
Flossing removes plaque buildup in the places where toothbrushes can’t reach – between teeth. Brushing alone only covers about 1/3 of the total tooth surface area in your mouth, which leaves a lot of space for plaque – and cavities – to thrive. Flossing helps fix this by removing food and other debris in between your teeth that causes plaque accumulation. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing are often an early sign of gum disease. People who regularly brush and floss their teeth suffer from gum disease and tooth decay far less than those that do not.
Drink More Water
Water is an essential tool to keep teeth clean, and fight against cavities and tooth decay. With every sip, water cleans teeth by ridding them of any leftover foods or acids. It also washes away bacteria and sugars that can eventually lead to cavities. Water has zero calories, and helps restore the pH balance in the mouth to fight unhealthy levels of acid.
Enjoy a Healthier Diet
Try adding fibrous fruits and vegetables to your diet to help keep your teeth clean and healthy. Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on – which is a huge source of fiber. Good sources of fiber are: apples, kiwi, berries, bananas, carrots and celery.
Remember to Visit Your Pediatric Dentist Every Six Months
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months to ensure that they are keeping their mouth as clean as possible. This regular checkup allows dentists to check on any potential oral health issues, and gives parents a chance to learn more about the overall health of their child, and how they can improve their oral health. Missing a checkup appointment can allow untreated oral health problems like cavities and tooth decay to worsen into more serious ailments that are more difficult and costly to fix.