How do you take care of your oral health?

This question can seem almost mundane, but with cavities on the rise and periodontal disease affecting even older adults, it’s important to get in touch with the basics. Good oral health impacts everything we do. The way we talk, how we eat, even how well we can focus during school or work. This is why you teach your kids useful skills at a very young age to prepare them for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. If it’s been a while since your child has gotten a pediatric dental exam, or you’re worried about an emerging cavity, take a look at the list below.

Good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits. Let’s see how your children can improve their oral health this year.

Did You Know?

Believe it or not, it’s not just children struggling to keep up good oral health. Americans of all ages are finding themselves in the frustrating position of having to visit their dentist more often than usual to stave off tooth decay and gingivitis. Today one out of five children will go without dental care, putting them at an increased risk for painful tooth and gum conditions. Children with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school and some studies have even estimated poor oral health as 20 times more common than diabetes.

Replace Toothbrushes Regularly

Here’s a useful tip that might keep your children’s teeth in better shape. Try replacing your toothbrushes every two to three months or when they start to show signs of wear and tear. The function of a toothbrush is to dislodge plaque and keep the gums free from irritation. Soft, bent bristles aren’t stiff enough to do the job and will do little more than waste time. Very young children and children with motor issues can benefit from using an electric toothbrush, which are great at massaging gums and even adding a little fun to the mundane.

Floss Twice Per Day

Now for something a lot less fun. Flossing can be a little time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort. Where brushing is used to break up plaque and massage the gums, flossing is necessary to remove stuck food and reduce bacteria between the teeth. Most dentists recommend flossing twice per day or after every meal, which is particularly important for children who are still learning the basics. While it may not seem important to emphasize brushing or flossing until children are five or six, when their teeth start growing, it’s actually better to start as early as possible.

Keep Mouthwash On Hand

Last, but not least, we have mouthwash. While this can seem like the easiest part of the oral health regimen, it still needs to be taught correctly. Rinsing should be done after brushing and flossing. It’s also important for children not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing. Mouthwash gets rid of leftover bacteria and freshens breath, compounding on brushing and flossing to create healthy gums and happy teeth. Children younger than two should also not use fluoride toothpaste unless specified by a doctor.

Visit The Dentist Once Or Twice Per Year

When in doubt? Childrens dental care can fill in the gaps. A pediatric dental exam can spot issues lingering beneath the surface, such as an emerging wisdom tooth or the beginnings of a cavity. A simple pediatric dental exam will not only help your children stay healthy, it will make sure they’re able to live their best life. Today over 40% of children between the ages of two and 11 have cavities in their primary teeth, thanks to data provided by the National Institute Of Dental And Carniofacial Research. The Center For Health And Healthcare In Schools recently released a statement that as much as 50 million hours are lost every year due to dental-related health problems.

Still working out the kinks in those good habits? Consider visiting a dental pediatrician this year for a pediatric dental exam and make sure your children are always smiling.