Monday, October 14, 2013

4 Tips to a Beautiful Healthy Smile

October is National Dental Hygiene Month and this year is the 100th Anniversary since the founding of the dental hygiene specialty. As part of National Dental Hygiene Month our own registered dental hygienist, Michelle Law, wants to share with parents some essential tips on how to keep a healthy smile, courtesy of the American Dental Hygiene Association and the American Dental Association.

1. Brush
Tooth brushing plays an important daily role for personal oral hygiene.  Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day is crucial.  Research shows that brushing for 2 minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque related diseases.

2. Floss
Flossing is an essential  part of any oral health care routine.  By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where the toothbrush can't reach.  This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calcified deposits also know as tartar.  Flossing also helps prevent gum disease and cavities. And don't forget, children need to floss too!  Did you know that as soon as your child has a few teeth touch, its time to start flossing their teeth?  Because flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to floss well without parents help until they are age 10 or 11.

3. Rinse
Mouth rinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque, to prevent or reduce gingivitis, to reduce the speed that tarter forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects. Please remember, anti-microbial rinses are not recommended for children under the age of 6.  Most studies indicate that its safe for children age 6 and above because they are able to spit, therefore, unlikely to swallow the mouthwash.

4. Gum Chewing
It's true, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs awarded the Seal to several  brands of chewing gum after finding that the physical action of chewing certain sugarless gums for 20 minutes after eating, stimulates saliva flow, which helps prevent cavities by reducing acids thereby making teeth more resistant to decay. It is not recommended that children under age 4 chew gum as they are more likely to swallow it.

Help us celebrate this month and beyond, 100 years of advancements in oral healthcare, by adding these easy and effective tips to (you and) your children's daily routine. Michelle looks forward to seeing great results at your child's next visit.