Healthy Habits for the Whole Family
Tooth care is vital for people of all ages, and especially for children, it can often be a family effort. Everyone wants to avoid toothaches and other discomfort, and the right proactive care will also ward off other problems that result from poorly managed teeth.
At Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry, we encourage a family approach to dental care when possible. In coordination with your pediatric dentist, here are some tactics you can take as a group to ensure everyone’s teeth stay healthy.
Start Kids Early
Despite enormous progress in prevention over the years, one in four young children will still develop signs of tooth decay before school begins. Half of all children between 12 and 15 have cavities.
To help prevent these, dental care should begin early. Most professionals recommend it starts as soon as a child’s first tooth appears, or around six months into their life. At about age 2, kids can be introduced to brushing for themselves as well.
Toothbrushes should be changed at least a couple times per year, and more often than that for teenagers who might be wearing them down more quickly. Also consider that teenagers who have braces may need to use special toothbrushes or other oral hygiene tools. If there are older people in the home, they may struggle with holding a toothbrush or using floss – on the toothbrush side, an electric brush can often help.
After meals, everyone should rinse the mouth with either water or, even better, an antibacterial rinse. This will prevent decay and gum issues. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals can have a similar effect by increasing saliva flow, which will wash away bacteria.
Tobacco stains teeth and can bring about a major increase to the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. This includes secondhand smoke, chewing tobacco and all forms of the substance in the home. Consider quitting if you use tobacco, and counsel your kids not to start.
A healthy diet is important for teeth and gums at all ages. Include lots of grains, nuts, fruits and veggies, all of which provide good nutrients for the mouth. Also try to avoid sugary foods, and especially sugary drinks – these not only contain dangerous sugar levels, but can raise acid levels due to people sipping on them.
Want to learn more about family tactics to keep healthy teeth, or interested in any of the other dental services we offer for children and the entire family? Speak to the staff at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentistry today.