Happy Self-Care Awareness Month! When you make time to take care of your teeth, you are also helping to maintain your overall health. Good oral hygiene means having healthy gums that are coral-pink and are scalloped around the teeth. They are NOT puffy, red, or bleed easily when brushed. One can have beautiful, white teeth but if the supporting tissue and bone is not healthy, they will not last a lifetime! Read on to learn more about how you can keep your smile healthy and happy.
Dr. Miller brushes her teeth in the morning and again before bed. One can floss anytime throughout the day, but sometimes it’s easier to remember and find time to floss in the evening. Dr. Miller also does a fluoride rinse before bed because of how much coffee she drinks (coffee can be slightly acidic and damaging to teeth enamel). She most often uses a manual toothbrush but does have an electric brush that she uses a few times per month. Either one does the job as long as you direct it where it needs to go (along the gumline and on chewing surfaces). Using an electric toothbrush can make your oral hygiene routine more exciting and fun!
For children's at-home dental care, we recommend a fluoridated toothpaste as long as the child can spit. If they cannot spit, we recommend a trainer toothpaste that has no fluoride and is safe to swallow while they are learning. For flossing, our office likes to recommend the floss picks (aides) that are straight and have a small curve to them. They are smaller than most fingers and tend to not bump into the tongue or trigger a gag reflex. However, if a patient says they are comfortable wrapping the floss around their fingers, then by all means they should continue to do what is working for them. Water picks are alright for removing large particles of food but will not be able to clean in between the teeth as the floss does. If that is all the child can do, then it is better than nothing but, they will be more prone to decay in between the teeth where ONLY floss can reach and clean.
Many patients ask us how many times a day to brush. Our usual answer is twice a day; morning and before bed. However, with more children at home with online learning, we strongly recommend a third brushing after lunch if time allows. Even just swishing with a glass of water will help dislodge food and dilute any acidic food or drinks. We have also heard that children may be visiting the refrigerator and cupboards more for snacks. We recommend stocking up on cheese, fruits, and veggies as they are quick, healthy snack options that have many health benefits!
We are all busy throughout the day but if we put in the time now to take care of ourselves, it will pay off later and make dental care much easier and less stressful in the future. Our teeth and oral cavity are linked to our whole body so taking care of our teeth also takes care of our whole system. Research has shown that there is a huge link between gingivitis and diabetes, etc. Nutrition is also tied into dental health. Dr. Miller always uses car maintenance as an analogy to explain the relationship between nutrition and dental health to patients. If you were to think of your body as a fine race car, you would probably want to put in high-quality fuel to keep it running its best. If we want our bodies to run efficiently and without problems or illnesses, we need to feed it the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs to run at its best. Curious of what a healthy diet looks like? Ask Dr. Miller the next time you visit us.
We hope everyone has a beautiful transition into the fall season. Stay Safe!