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The average American has three dental fillings; with good oral hygiene, this number could be much lower.
Bad day-to-day habits and routines are the main reasons for needing dental care. It’s one thing maintaining your own healthy mouth, but many people struggle with improving family dental health.
There are five things you can do to ensure your family has sparkling pearly whites that you can be proud of.
Read on to learn exactly how to have excellent family dental health.
1. Keep a Consistent Routine
Having a healthy mouth is all about building consistent routines. Brushing your teeth should be a fundamental part of the morning and night-time routine — no exceptions. Your role as a parent is to help children build good habits.
You should use a timer to make sure your family is brushing for long enough, concentrating on brushing with good technique, and making sure to floss 5-7 times a week.
Brushing will remove larger bits of food, clean the mouth, and prevent plaque build-up from each tooth’s surface. Regular flossing will remove the smaller, harder-to-reach pieces of food, plaque and help maintain your gum health.
It’s never too late to start good brushing and flossing. If you’ve been neglecting your mouth, you may have some sensitivity and bleeding in the beginning. Don’t let this put you off; it’ll pass with time, and you’ll be on your way to having a healthy mouth.
It’s no secret that many American’s have a high sugar diet. This is not only detrimental to your weight but also your mouth. Sugar sticks to the teeth, creating a bacteria breeding ground.
When you’re thinking about the health of kids, considering diet is crucial. Sticky candies and sweets are the bad guys; they linger in your mouth and cause cavities. For a sweet treat, something like dark chocolate is a much better alternative.
Starchy foods like bread, potatoes, and rice are also full of hidden sugars. It can be brushed off the teeth easily, but in the absence of a good dental routine, they’ll get stuck in the small gaps between the teeth.
Finally, limit acidic foods. In particular, fruit juices are a major contributing factor to cavities in children. Encourage kids to drink with a straw to avoid contact with the teeth and reduce the amount of acid in their diet.
Improving family oral health is all about education. Teaching kids early about the importance of their teeth will help them build lifelong habits.
Get them to explore their mouth with a mirror and count each of their teeth. Although it’s unlikely, get them to ‘check for holes.’ If you get them checking their teeth for cavities, they’re more likely to brush better to prevent them.
When it comes to brushing, let them choose their own toothbrush — there are some great creative options out there. From themed, flashing, or singing toothbrushes, you’ll be able to find it.
Teach little ones to brush each tooth, painting it white with fluoride toothpaste, and then cleaning it off. Make sure they cover each surface of the tooth, and don’t forget the tongue and gums.
Set a timer so they’re not trying to get all the teeth done as fast as possible. If they finish early, they can clean a few teeth twice.
4. Lead by Example
As with everything in parenting, you have to try and lead by example when it comes to oral hygiene. Try mentioning your reasoning for things in conversation without lecturing them.
For example, ‘I’m using a straw with my orange juice; I want to keep the acid away from my teeth.’ Or, ‘I had such a sugary treat after dinner, I’m going to brush my teeth extra well tonight.’
Brush your teeth together and make it a family event. Each night, let someone pick their favorite song and listen to it while you do the bathroom routine.
5. Get a Family Dentist
Between 9 and 20% of Americans are afraid of going to the dentist; most people attribute this to previous painful experiences or fear of pain. However, if your mouth is healthy, routine dental visits aren’t painful.
Get your kids comfortable going to the dentist and looking forward to the praise they’ll get for their pearly whites. Get a family dentist that understands how the needs of adults and children are different.
A family dentist should be able to help your overall family wellness and health by assessing you all in the same visit.
Further, a family dentist will provide for you and your family at all stages of life. As kids grow and their dental needs change, a family dentist can accommodate these new requirements. This means you won’t have the hassle of switching to an adult dentist.
Parents often struggle to teach kids to floss correctly. A family dentist hygienist will show them the proper techniques. We hate to say it, but kids usually pay more attention to someone else’s advice rather than their parents.
So, if your in-depth tooth-brushing lessons didn’t have the desired effect, book the hygienist for a pro lesson.
Improving Family Dental Health With These Tips
With these tips, we hope you’re feeling well informed about how to improve your family’s dental health. All you need to do is focus on consistency, diet, education, leading by example, and routine dentist visits.
Family dental health is so important, so start making changes today!
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