Dental Care Tips for the Whole Family
Family dentistry in Marion, Iowa can become a challenging task if you aren’t doing what is necessary to keep your children’s’ teeth safe. Thankfully, the following tips will help you protect your children – and yourself – from severe dental problems.
Teach Your Children Proper Brushing Methods
Every member of your family needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day to ensure that their dental care is healthy. The times that you brush your teeth will vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, you may want to brush your teeth right away in the morning to eliminate bacteria and plaque that developed there during the night. Brushing right before bed is also a good step because it minimizes bacteria spread in your mouth while you sleep. Talk to your family dentistry professional about this to learn more.
However, you may also want to brush more than twice a day, depending on your needs. For example, some people brush after every meal, which is an excellent idea because it keeps food off of your teeth and avoids bacteria and plaque spread. Try to create a plan that works for your family’s unique schedule and lifestyle. Talk to your children about this pattern of brushing behavior and then work with them to ensure that they are brushing when they’re supposed to clean. You may need to watch them for a while.
Proper brushing techniques are also critical because they ensure minimal plaque spread. Start by adding just a dot of toothpaste onto the brush and running just a little water on it to make it easier to move through your teeth. Hold the brush at a 30-to-45-degree angle to the edges of your teeth and brush firmly but without excess pressure. Pay attention to every area of your mouth and move slowly, not quickly, letting the brush do its work naturally. Also, brush the gum line and your tongue as well.
Add New Bristles to Your Brush
Any competent family dentistry professional should tell you to replace your toothbrush at least a few times a year. The bristles on your brush will gradually wear down over time and lose their effectiveness. Even worse, your bristles may start to collect food and other debris from your mouth and become a breeding ground for bacteria. As a result, you and your children may do more harm by brushing your teeth with old bristles than if you skipped brushing thoroughly. Thankfully, you can usually find inexpensive, but high-quality, replacements.
The basic schedule here requires you to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. Doing so helps to keep your bristles in great shape and avoids any complications. However, you may need to replace your brush or your bristles on a powered toothbrush sooner. Pay attention to the state of your bristle and replace them before three months have passed if you find that they aren’t strong enough to provide you with the dental care that you need to keep your teeth healthy.
Make sure that you also choose a soft-bristled brush to avoid causing damage to your mouth. This step is particularly important for younger children because their teeth are often not quite as healthy as yours. Hard bristles can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth and even make your gums recede if you aren’t careful. Swap out your child’s brush if you notice that the bristles are getting too stiff or if they complain about their mouth hurting when they brush. Brushing should never cause pain.
Minimize Sugar Intake
Your kids – and probably you, too – love sugar a little too much. Snacking on an occasional candy bar or two probably seems harmless but can become a real issue for your dental health. Simply put, sugar is one of the primary food sources for bacteria and plaque and will spread rapidly throughout your mouth if given the chance. As a result, you need to do what you can to help minimize your child’s intake of sugar and to replace these foods with healthy alternatives.
For example, you can replace a candy bar in their school lunch with carrots and ranch dip. Though the ranch dip isn’t healthy per se, it is less damaging than a candy bar. But the carrots will actively support your child’s dental care by breaking apart plaque and bacteria while they chew them. Also, make sure to replace sugary drinks in your child’s lunch with water or lightly-flavored water that uses a safe sugar alternative, such as Stevia. Doing so helps ensure that your child’s teeth are healthy.
Now, you shouldn’t eliminate all of a child’s sugary foods from their diet – even the best family dentistry expert will tell you that this is a bit too severe. However, you should try to do what you can to minimize the intake of these foods to no more than once or twice a week. Also, try to avoid most sugar alternatives when you can. Although Stevia is mostly safe, other options have a terrible tendency to trigger excess hunger and may cause other issues as well.
Stop Your Child From Damaging Their Teeth
Children have many bad habits that may damage their teeth. All family dentistry firms have had to deal with children who suck their thumb or sleep with a bottle at night. These habits are very hard to shake in young children, particularly if they have become a comfort habit. However, you need to do what you can to get them to stop these behaviors healthily.
Try to avoid using excess pressure, though, as this may make the child struggle to quit even more. Simply try to discourage them in light ways or take away their bottle at night when they go to bed. Just as importantly, pay attention to any excess chewing behaviors you may see, such as a child who tears open plastic toy packaging with their teeth rather than using scissors.
Model appropriate behaviors to ensure that your children don’t fall into harmful patterns. For example, you should never misuse your teeth, such as chewing on ice or hard popcorn kernels. Just as critically, it is essential to work with a dental professional and even a child psychologist if you find that your young one cannot stop sucking their thumb.
Get the Expert Help You Deserve
So if you need help from excellent family dentistry in Marion, Iowa and aren’t sure where to turn, please contact us at Horton Family Dental right away to learn more. Our experts have years of experience working with children and can do what is necessary to protect their teeth.