Why A Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body
Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is a worthy goal in itself. You have so many good reasons to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep teeth strong and healthy from childhood to old age. Here’s how:
1. Start children early. Dental care should begin as soon as a child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months, Teeth can be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush. At about age 2, you can let kids try brushing for themselves.
2. Seal off trouble. Permanent molars come in around age 6. Thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can prevent decay in the pits and fissures.
3. Use enough but not too much fluoride. Fluoride should be used sparingly in young children -- no more than a pea-sized dab on the toothbrush.
4. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems -- and not just for older people.
5. Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
6. Eat smart. At every age, a healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods including grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products will provide all the nutrients you need.
7. Avoid sugary foods. When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, opening the door to decay.
8. Make an appointment. A dental check-up every 6 months is recommended more often if you have problems with gum disease.