by D. Nomi
How can we protect those pearly whites? Our teeth should be our most valuable asset. If not regularly maintained, our teeth would lose their radiance and purpose to eat, speak, and smile. Proper dental care is important to our overall health and should start at an early age. Let’s take a journey into good dental health that will benefit us for life.
EFFECTS OF POOR DENTAL CARE
When brushing is not part of our regular routine, plaque can build up on our teeth and harden into tartar. This in turn creates an environment for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria can work its way into our gums and cause infection. Cavities, bad breath, gum disease and tooth loss are also a result of bacteria.
Cavities occur when bacteria feed on food debris and release acid which wears down tooth enamel and decay teeth. Bad breath is the result of bacteria carrying a pungent smell. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the gum tissues. If gum disease is not treated early, it can contribute to other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
EARLY DENTAL CARE
Prevention is the first step to achieving a healthy mouth. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends that brushing should start as soon as primary teeth begin to erupt, or break through the gum line. This may be as early as 6 months of age when there is a risk of tooth decay.
Infant’s teeth should be brushed twice a day using a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles reaching all tooth surfaces. Brushing should be two minutes in duration using fluoride toothpaste which has been shown to achieve clinically significant plaque removal.
According to the Bermuda Dental Association, the best way to have good oral health is not to allow problems to begin. That starts with good home brushing and flossing. Cleanings and checkups at appropriate intervals also helps maximize your home oral care and catch any problems before they become painful or more difficult to treat.
Dr Janie M. Brown, DDS, and staff at Par-La-Ville Dental, understands the growth and development of children’s teeth and the importance of starting off with good oral health.
With specialized training in primary teeth, they help to protect and restore children’s teeth so they can speak and eat easily and have a wonderful smile. They will also work with parents to ensure children take good care of their teeth at home and will monitor their mouths for any signs of problems.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY TEETH
Our diet plays a big part not only in our dental health, but our overall health. According to the ADA, your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. What you eat impacts not only your general health but also your teeth and gums. If your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states your child’s diet is essential for the development and maintenance of strong and healthy teeth. Good sources of calcium should be included in your child’s diet to help build strong teeth.
One of the best practices for a lifetime of good health is to teach your child about healthy eating habits. The following are three tips provided by CDC:
1) Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of candies and cookies.
2) Brush your child’s teeth twice a day.
3) Serve water at mealtime rather than juice or soda.
The Government of Bermuda, Oral Health Section, also provides dental services to children. These services include dental education in every classroom and free confidential dental screenings for all school children in P2, P3, and M2.
Parents are also provided a report of their children’s dental needs. Children in these school years can also have their teeth sealed, free-of-charge, at their school.
For additional dental protection, the Government of Bermuda also offers fluoride to school-aged children in the country. Fluoride supplements are available free of charge by filing out a consent form, available from all schools or dental health clinics.
Dr Helen Christopher, who specializes in pediatric dentistry at Young Smiles Ltd, provides the following tips on how to keep kids teeth healthy:
1) Start good oral habits early by teaching kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.
2) Get enough fluoride regularly to toughen enamel and prevent acid penetration.
3) Limit or avoid certain foods that contain high amounts of sugar.
4) Visit a dentist regularly to maintain and monitor dental hygiene.
Young Smiles Ltd is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. Dr Christopher and her team have experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. They go beyond the basics to ensure your child’s visit to the dentist is safe, relaxed, informative, and fun.
In turn, this helps put their patients at ease so they can provide the best dental care and education on the importance of preventive care, hygiene and treatments in an open and easy-to-understand manner.
Therefore, it is important to start good oral habits early. Children should brush their teeth twice a day, limit sugary foods, and have regular dental checkups. Make dental care a priority. It will improve the quality of their life and especially their smile!