Is Your Family Practicing Good Oral Hygine?
Your family's health is extremely important to you; that goes without saying. But while you may be monitoring your children's growth and activity levels and staying current on doctor appointments, are you following the proper steps to keep everyone's teeth healthy? Dr. Reina Garcia, your family dentist at Millbrook Smiles in Sudbury, MA, has provided a few tips for each family member to ensure everyone is receiving the proper dental care at home.
Guidelines for babies
It may seem strange to develop an oral hygiene routine for a child who doesn't have teeth yet, but your Sudbury family dentist highly encourages parents to help their children get in the habit early. Beginning just after birth, the gums should be wiped off after feedings with a clean, damp cloth. Once the first teeth begin to emerge - usually between six months and one year of age - use a finger brush or small toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste to gently clean these teeth. Dr. Garcia also cautions parents against letting a child go to sleep at night or during naps with a bottle of formula, milk or juice. The long exposure to the sugars contained in these drinks can cause severe tooth decay. If your child falls asleep better with a bottle, it can be filled with water.
Guidelines for kids
Children under three years old should still have their teeth brushed twice daily by a parent or caregiver using the same methods as above. Older kids may be able to maneuver a toothbrush more efficiently, but some still need supervision or instruction to make sure they're cleaning each tooth properly. As soon as a child has two teeth that touch each other, your Sudbury dentist suggests making flossing part of the oral hygiene routine. To make the experience more fun and personalized, allow your child to choose their own ADA-approved toothbrush, toothpaste and other accessories or products.
Guidelines for teens and adults
Dr. Garcia reminds her teenage and adult patients that they should make a habit of brushing twice and flossing once daily to keep cavities and gum disease at bay. Sugary and starchy foods should be eaten in moderation; they disrupt the acidic balance in the mouth, giving bacteria the environment it needs to grow.
For all of our patients at Millbrook Smiles in Sudbury, MA, we recommend twice-yearly visits for cleaning and evaluations. If you'd like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia, call us today!