The seeds of good oral health

by MikeMeehan 4/3/2018 1:21 PM

As we grow, our oral health needs continue to evolve. Cultivate strong teeth by planting the seeds for good oral health early and knowing what to watch for at different life stages.  Babies and Toddlers Baby teeth are susceptible to cavities and need daily upkeep from the very beginning. Before the first tooth arrives, wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, clean cloth after each feeding to get rid of unwanted bacteria. When the first tooth appears, brush with fluoride toothpaste and toothbrushes designed for babies and younger children. For children under 3, use no more toothpaste than the size of a grain of rice and no more than a pea-sized amount for kids between 3 and 6 years old. Babies should also have their first dentist appointment six months after their first tooth or before age 1. During these early years, it’s crucial that children learn oral health routines that will keep their smiles healthy into adulthood. Teach your little one good habits early by demonstrating how to brush, reiterating the need to brush for two full minutes twice a day and making it fun (try playing music during your brushing session or rewarding your child with a sticker for remembering to brush). Children and Adolescents Childhood and adolescence are the times to reinforce good habits and take steps to guard against common mouth issues. Supervise your child’s brushing until age 8 and flossing until age 10. You can also talk with the dentist about preventive measures like sealants to protect against cavities and mouth guards to protect from mouth injuries.   The risk of cavities is highest in adolescents for multiple reasons, including immature enamel, unhealthy diet and lack of oral health care. To help, make sure your child sticks with good oral health practices like brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once daily, choosing healthy snacks, drinking fluoridated water and visiting the dentist regularly.  In addition, pay attention to gum health as adolescence is often the time when gingivitis begins. Symptoms like gum redness, swelling, bleeding and tenderness can indicate the presence of gingivitis. Alert the dentist if any of these symptoms are present.  Adults As an adult, the wear and tear your teeth experience over time can become noticeable by causing symptoms like discoloration, cavity susceptibility and tooth cracks or chips. Keep them strong by maintaining a proper oral health routine that includes brushing and flossing daily, eating mouth-friendly foods and scheduling regular dental visits.  Avoid harmful substances like tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption that put you at higher risk for oral cancer, which occurs most often after age 60. Take steps to prevent oral cancer and lookout for early signs with home screenings. Mouth symptoms can include sores, red or white patches, persistent pain or numbness, lumps or rough spots, and issues chewing and swallowing. If you experience any of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, speak to your dentist. Another factor to consider is that the nerves in your teeth may grow less sensitive, making it less likely that you’ll notice the development of cavities. Maintain regular checkups so your dentist can catch any mouth issues early before they progress. Good oral health requires dedication, but by tending to your mouth with care, you can keep your smile healthy at any age.

A Rainbow of Foods to Keep Your Smile Healthy

by MikeMeehan 3/14/2018 9:52 AM

  You may not discover a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day, but there are other ways rainbows can make you smile this month. These colorful fruits and veggies are full of flavor and will help keep your smile sparkling. Red: - Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, which helps maintain gum health. - Red peppers also contain vitamin C, and they come with a host of anti-inflammatory benefits. Orange: - Pumpkin and carrots have lots of vitamin A, which helps keep mucous membranes healthy and prevent dry mouth. Carrots also contain immunity-strengthening antioxidants. - Butternut squash is rich with vitamin C and potassium that helps neutralize acids that remove calcium from the body. Yellow: - Yellow peppers have anti-inflammatory benefits and vitamin C. - Cheeses contain calcium that helps build strong bones and teeth.  Green: - Leafy greens contain vitamin K that helps block substances that break down bone, promoting good bone density. They are also a good source of calcium. - Broccoli contains folic acid that helps keep your gums healthy and can help prevent cleft lip and palate during pregnancy. Blue: - Blueberries are a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Purple: - Eggplant contains vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. It also has folic acid that builds strong bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. - Acai berries have antioxidants to strengthen immunity. White: - Cauliflower has vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a great substitute for starchy grains in diets. - Plain yogurt promotes strong teeth and bones by being rich in calcium.

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Teeth

by MikeMeehan 3/7/2018 9:25 AM

It’s common to indulge in a libation or two to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – but will your smile feel the effects the next day? Here are a few ways to combat potential dental health issues while raising your glass to the Irish. Stay hydrated. Drinks containing spirits are especially drying to the mouth. A lack of saliva means food particles and plaque can stick to teeth longer than usual, potentially resulting in more cavities. Anytime you imbibe, especially liquor, offset the drying effects by drinking water throughout the evening. Skip the “twist.” Many martinis come with a garnish or a squirt of lemon or lime to bring out the flavors of the drink. Even a “squeeze” of lemon contains enough acid to harm tooth enamel, according to the American Dental Association, so it may be best to try a drink with a different garnish (olives are good!). Don’t go to the dark side. Red wine – and green beer – can stain teeth. If you have a drink that’s dyed or naturally dark, be sure to swish with water afterward. Though you may feel the urge to brush, it’s best not to do so immediately afterward: Acidic drinks can make tooth enamel soft, so brushing after enjoying a drink will likely do more harm than good. The bottom line: One night of celebrating probably isn’t going to cause tooth decay or damage. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit, and remember to maintain good dental health habits like regular brushing and flossing.   1 https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/what-does-alcohol-do-to-your-teeth

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