Healthy Teeth For A Lifetime
Taking steps to care for your mouth and teeth, starting early in life can help prevent problems as you get older. That means brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly, beginning in early childhood.
Consider all that you do each day that is related to your mouth and teeth. You eat, you speak, you smile, you laugh, you relate to other people, and constantly make that all important first impression. Neglecting your oral health can affect any or all of the above. Good oral health care is not hard but it does require some discipline. Here are a few tips for a lifetime of taking care of your smile.
INFANTS AND CHILDREN
The first set of teeth (the baby teeth) are almost completely formed at birth. They are just hidden under the gums. When the baby teeth do begin to erupt, they help your child eat new foods, learn to speak, and they hold space for the permanent teeth that will erupt later.
– Clean your baby’s new teeth every day. Gently rub them with a clean, wet washcloth. When they are bigger (around a year) use a child’s toothbrush.
– Children under two years of age should not use toothpaste. Water is enough while brushing.
– DO NOT let your baby go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Leaving that sugar-filled liquid in their mouth can cause cavities known as “baby-bottle tooth decay”.
– Teach your child how to brush properly from an early age.
– Encourage older children to eat low-sugar snacks, avoiding sticky, chewy candy.
– Take your child to see the dentist regularly. The American Dental association recommends that children begin seeing the dentist starting at 1 year of age.
ADOLESCENTS, TEENS AND ADULTS
– Brush your teeth at least twice each day with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once each day.
– Brush again before bed if you had anything to eat or drink after dinner.
– Do not smoke or chew tobacco which can cause oral cancer in addition to staining your teeth and giving you bad breath.
– Always wear protective mouthguards when playing sports.
– See your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.
– See an orthodontist for the first time around age 7 for a screening appointment. Orthodontic treatment at the right time can improve both your smile and the health of your teeth.
Developing good habits early in like can protect your smile for the rest of your life!