Regular dental check-ups and preventative dental care such as cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, provide your child with “smile” insurance. Plan your child’s first dental visit within six months after the first tooth erupts, but no later than his or hers first birthday.
Consider it a “well baby check-up” for your child’s teeth. During your child’s first visit, your dentist will check:
- for cavities
- to see how well the teeth are being cleaned and offer suggestions if necessary
- to make sure the proper number of teeth have erupted
- to see that your child is receiving the proper amount of fluoride
- to see if the parents have any questions or concerns
Routine dental exams will help assess your child’s dental health through the years. By age seven, it is recommended that your child receive an orthodontic evaluation.
Your dentist is there to provide information to help you take care of your child’s oral health.
According to a study in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, brewed tea is one of the best drink options for your teeth.
The study found that the effect of black or green tea on tooth enamel was similar to that of water, which has no erosive effect. The study clearly showed that drinking brewed teas resulted in dramatically less enamel loss than drinking soft drinks and fruit juices.
Another study in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that green tea may also have additional benefits for your oral health, and may help eliminate bacteria that cause gum disease.
Just remember — don’t add sugar to your tea, and you should avoid the prepackaged, bottled ice teas because they contain citric acid, and high amounts of sugar.
You can save money on your dental care by planning ahead. Before your dentist begins any type of treatment, make sure you know what your insurance covers and what your out of pocket costs will be. Ask your dentist for a pre-treatment estimate, which will tell you what your plan covers. You’ll then be able to make better-informed decisions about your treatment.
If you don’t have insurance, start a dental savings plan, or put aside some money each month.
Discuss treatment options with your dentist. There may be less-expensive alternatives available.
Also — make, and keep, regular dental appointments, so that your dentist can spot problems as soon as they begin. The longer it takes to identify a problem, the more serious, and more expensive, it becomes.
Most importantly, take good care of your teeth! Simple preventive care, such as brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once daily, will help prevent bigger problems and bigger bills.
Good dental hygiene starts with your toothpaste. Make sure your brand has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval, and that it contains fluoride.
For tooth-decay prevention, fluoride is just as important as brushing. After that, you have several options.
Toothpastes that “whiten” can remove surface stains, and help you maintain the natural color of your teeth.
Anti-gingivitis toothpastes help reduce bacteria that cause gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. These toothpastes can be very effective in preventing the on-set of gingivitis.
Tartar-control toothpastes CAN help to prevent the new buildup of tartar (or hardened plaque.) However, a professional dental cleaning is the best way to remove existing tartar and bacteria.
Toothpastes for sensitive teeth can provide temporary relief of tooth pain caused by hot or cold foods, until your dentist can determine the cause of the pain.
If you have any questions about the selection of toothpastes, ask your dentist.
Flossing is a necessary part of taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums. Flossing should be done on a daily basis, usually right before going to bed.
During the day, after eating a meal when you have a chunk of food stuck in your tooth, using a toothpick is a handy way to remove the particle, give your tongue a break from digging at it, and also keep your mouth clean and fresh.
Toothpicks and dental floss are designed to access and clean areas where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Gentle and careful cleaning between the teeth, under dental work and along the gum line, will remove debris that can cause bacteria and jeopardize the health of your mouth.
Don’t be careless — vigorous use of a toothpick can cause damage to delicate gums, particularly if you have sensitive or receding gums.
Using a toothpick should never take the place of flossing or brushing your teeth. They are simply an option for removing food particles when you can’t brush.
Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times. The Greeks, the ancient Mayans, and even Native Americans chewed sap from various trees.We tend to think of chewing gum as candy, but gum that gets the American Dental Association Seal can actually protect the teeth.Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, this increased saliva flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids produced when food is broken down. Over time these acids can break down the tooth enamel creating conditions for tooth decay. Chewing gum is no substitute for brushing and flossing but it works in conjunction with brushing, for maximum effectiveness. Select gums that display the ADA Seal.So far the only gums with the Seal are sugarless. The Seal is your assurance that the gum has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.
If you suffer from acid reflux, you may experience reflux-induced erosion. This is a type of tooth erosion that occurs due to the acid coming up from your stomach and attacking your teeth. This is similar to acid erosion caused by sucking on limes or lemons on a regular basis.In order to remove the acid or its effects, many people make the mistake of brushing their teeth immediately after an acid attack. This is usually a mistake because your teeth may be extremely sensitive. It’s best to rinse your mouth with water and wait for an hour before brushing. When you do brush, use a soft toothbrush and gently, yet thoroughly, brush your teeth. We suggest NOT USING toothpaste as it may be too abrasive for your damaged teeth. Instead, use a non-alcohol mouthwash that has fluoride.Make sure you see your dentist every quarter for cleanings, and early treatment for this problem. It’ll help you avoid tooth sensitivity or tooth loss due to reflux-induced erosion.