There are so many different reasons why having healthy teeth and gums is important, from beautiful, sparkling smiles to being able to digest food correctly. Chewing is an essential part of the digestive system that is required to get the most out of your food, while toothaches and other dental problems occur as a result of neglecting your teeth.
According to new research, gum disease is capable of leading to further health problems later in life, including an increased risk of heart disease. These are all reasons for encouraging healthy teeth and gums for you and the rest of your family, especially the kids.
The various ways of improving your dental health are straightforward enough to introduce from the moment you finish this article, so here’s what you can do to make that sparkling smile a reality for years to come.
Brush Twice a Day and Floss
The most effective way of preventing gum disease and resisting tooth decay is to keep on top of a strict brushing schedule. Research from the United States indicates that 75% of teenagers have bleeding gums when they brush their teeth which could be a sign of gum disease. Brushing regularly helps to clear plaque and food remains from your teeth.
You should also change your toothbrush every three or four years as they will gradually start to lose their effectiveness. Teenagers with braces may require specialist toothbrushes and possibly some additional hygiene tools to clean their teeth, while electric toothbrushes are excellent substitutes for standard toothbrushes if you suffer from arthritis.
Flossing helps to get rid of any lingering plaque from between teeth yet it is widely neglected by many, so make sure you make flossing an ever-present fixture in your dental hygiene campaign.
Introduce Brushing to Kids Early On
One in four young children have tooth decay before they’ve started school, while half of children aged between 12 and 16 have cavities. Decay prevention has been taken extremely seriously over the last few years but we continue to witness shocking statistics such as these all the time.
It’s essential that regular dental care is introduced as soon as the first milk teeth appear in young children. It’s easy to clean teeth with a very soft brush prior to the age of two, which is when most children should be instructed how to look after their own teeth.
Of course, you should always supervise your two-year old when they start out and provide some helpful teeth cleaning tips that promote healthier teeth and gums in the long run.
Cut Down on Sugary Food and Drink
Bacteria found in our mouths are an essential part of the digestive system as they help to break down foods. However, as they attempt to break down simple sugars and other sugary foods, they produce acids that are capable of eroding tooth enamel which in turn makes it easier for tooth decay to set in.
Soft drinks and other fruit drinks tend to be a major cause for concern as they take longer to finish compared to sweets and other sugary foods. This means that the level of acid produced by the bacteria increases substantially. The issue with sweets is that they tend to stick around for a while due to their consistency, thus lingering on the surface of teeth and causing problems over a longer period of time.
Children tend to eat sugary foods regularly once they’ve first been introduced, so it can help to restrict their diet to a small amount of sugary foods every week and instead introduce new, healthier treats that contain less harmful amounts of sugar.
Consistent Dental Check-Ups
NHS dentists are available nationwide and the number of patients is growing considerably every year. When you have your first check up, whether it’s o your own or as a family, your dentist will provide you with a recommended date for your next check-up. Your next check up could be in a few months time or a couple of years in the future depending on your dentist’s recommendations.
You can wait longer for your next check-up if you are at lower risk of having dental problems in the future. If you have looked after your teeth properly and maintained good oral health, the chances of you having to return in a few months time are less likely. Staying on top of your dental hygiene means that you’ll probably only ever need to visit the dentist once every year or two.
Kids often require some persuading to go to the dentist regularly if they do have oral health problems, so try and make the experience as enjoyable as possible. Perhaps treat them to something nice afterwards so they are a bit more enthusiastic about their upcoming appointment. If you or your child has a problematic fear of the dentist, there are plenty of methods you can focus on to overcome your fears.
Incorporate Fluoride into Your Oral Health Regime
One of the latest advances in oral health is the discovery of fluoride and what it can do for your teeth. Fluoride is capable of strengthening your enamel and preventing future decay. Fluoridated water is one of many ways to coat your teeth in fluoride and many of us drink fluoridated water regularly without realising. However, if your water isn’t fluoridated, you may need to discuss an alternative method of obtaining fluoride with your dentist.
Your dentist may suggest using a fluoride application for your teeth, while he may also introduce you to some alternative toothpastes and mouth rinses that also contain fluoride. You should be careful when using fluoride with younger children, as too much of the substance in toothpaste can cause white spots to appear on teeth.
Avoid Smoking at all Costs
If you are a smoker, remember that tobacco will gradually stain your teeth over time and increase your chances of both gum disease and oral cancer. Chewing tobacco also causes problems for oral health, so try your best to remove these habits from your daily routine.
Fewer children are taking up smoking today which is an encouraging statistics, but there are still many parents who are struggling with tobacco addiction. If you’re concerned your child may also take up smoking, consult your dentist or a counsellor so that you can stop your kids from starting early on.