By: Jessica Cohen
Did you know that having bad oral hygiene could lead to problems not just in your mouth, but in several areas of the body? It’s true! Living a healthy lifestyle includes caring for your teeth, so it is vital to maintain a regular dental routine starting from a young age. Whether you’re starting today or teaching your kids from square one, a daily dental routine should include:
- Brushing at least twice a day, reaching each tooth on the front and back.
- Flossing in between the teeth, bringing the string all the way to the gum line. Slide the floss up and down between the teeth as well as around each tooth.
- Rinsing with mouthwash brushing to eliminate bacteria from your mouth.
Dr. Sherri Schneider, DMD, adds that our daily dental care routine should include our tongues, too.
“Bacteria lay in the crevices of your tongue,” she says. “Using a tongue scraper or brushing your tongue daily will lead to a better balance of bacteria in your mouth and will significantly reduce any breath issues.”
Teaching your child to use a toothbrush from an early age will help set a routine for the years to follow. You may need to brush your child’s teeth at the beginning, though it is likely that as soon as your child wants to assert his or her independence, he or she will take over.
Some parents choose to delay the use of fluoride for children until after the first year or two, while others choose to use it from the start. Speak with your dentist and decide what is right for your family.
Here are some other important items to remember:
- Let your toothbrush air dry after use, since towels may contain bacteria.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after an illness such as a cold, flu or strep throat.
- If you have sensitive or bleeding gums, make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- If your gums or teeth are sensitive to cold or hot foods, use an alcohol-free mouth rinse and toothpaste made especially for those with sensitivity issues.
- If you have difficulty with flossing, use floss products that come in a holder. These are specially designed for children and people with arthritic hands.
Remember, following a regular daily dental care routine starting at a young age will help get you on the path to keeping your teeth healthy for a lifetime!
Jessica Cohen writes at Found the Marbles, a look at social good, life and paying it forward. She is also a ghost writer, media strategist and frequent carpooler.