You have so many good reasons to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy. Their sparkling smiles. Being able to chew for good nutrition. Avoiding toothaches and discomfort. And new research suggests that gum disease can lead to other problems in the body, including increased risk of heart disease.
Simple ways to keep teeth strong and healthy from childhood to old age:
1. Start children early.
Start to brush your baby's gums with a soft toothbrush at bath time, or even let your baby have a go themselves as long as you supervise them. This establishes brushing their teeth as part of the washing routine.
Start brushing your baby's teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around six months, but it can be earlier or later). It's important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
Brush your child's teeth just before bedtime and at least one other time during the day. Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water.
Supervise tooth brushing until your child is seven or eight years old, either by brushing their teeth yourself or, if they brush their own teeth, by watching how they do it. From the age of seven or eight they should be able to brush their own teeth, but it’s still a good idea to watch them now and again to make sure they brush properly and for the whole two minutes.
Take your child to the dentist. The dentist can help to prevent decay and identify any health problems at an early stage and your child could beneit from future preventive care. NHS dental care for children is free.
2. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes.
3. Brush twice a day and floss daily.
4. Toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.
5. Rinse or chew gum after meals - In addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralises acid.
6. Eat Healthily. 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. Sugary drinks, including soft drinks and fruit drinks and sweets raise acid levels and can linger on teeth surfaces leading to tooth decay.
8. Make a dental appointment. Most experts recommend a dental check-up every 6 months. During a routine examination, your dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque build-up that you can’t brush or floss away and look for signs of decay. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and this can be easily prevented with regular check ups. A large percentage of adults in the UK suffer from gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque build up, but if left untreated this can develop into a more severe form called periodontitis.A regular dental exam also can spot early signs of oral cancer and other systemic diseases like Crohns.
Almost all tooth decay and most types of gum disease are preventable diseases that can be managed with good oral hygiene and a healthy diet.