Ten Tips for Improving your Family’s Dental Health
- Brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once at night before you go to bed. The goal is to remove that invisible film of plaque which is home to millions and millions of bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth excrete acid which is destructive to tooth enamel. Use an up-and-down motion and don’t forget to “twist-your-wrist.” Spend at least 30 seconds brushing all sides of your top teeth then do the same on the bottom. You should be spending at least one minute brushing all your teeth to effectively remove most of the plaque and bacteria.
- Use a soft toothbrush. A brush with stiff bristles can be damaging to gum tissues and cause the gums to pull away from the necks of the teeth – this can lead to exposed root surfaces which can lead to root sensitivity, abrasion, decay and further gum recession.
- Floss your teeth daily. Brushing cleans the front and back surfaces but not the sides, which are set closely against the neighboring teeth. Use dental floss which slides in and out without breaking Use an up-and-down motion, curving the floss against the tooth on one side, then against the tooth on the other side.
- Avoid whitening toothpastes. Any toothpaste which says “Whitening” on the box contains an abrasive ingredient like baking soda. Far from whitening your teeth, that will gradually yellow them. That’s because abrasive ingredients remove some of the tooth enamel along with any superficial stains. This will allow the dentin layer to show through — the yellow layer below enamel.
- Get fluoride treatments from your Dentist. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. Check that your toothpaste contains fluoride, and when you go for your annual check-up and tooth cleaning, ask for a fluoride treatment after your teeth have been cleaned and polished.
- Avoid using your teeth to open bottle caps and tear open wrappers/packaging. Avoid chewing on hard items such as a pen, pencil, ice or your fingernails. Such chewing habits can damage your tooth enamel and gradually push your teeth out of alignment.
- Get a first check-up as early as 4 years of age. If you have young children, you should start bringing them to our office at around this age. This way they become accustomed to the faces and surroundings in our office and get used to having their teeth cleaned and checked. Good habits start early. As your children go through that “mixed dentition” phase between 5-12 they may need some orthodontic work to avoid a lifetime of dental problems so its best to try and catch these problems early so they can be corrected.
- Use of Dental Sealants. In our office Dr. Willoughby and his staff will recommend the use of dental sealants on your children’s adult teeth if they are prone to decay or the teeth have deep pits and fissures. The use of dental sealants vastly reduces the chance of tooth decay.
- Teach your children how to brush and floss their teeth effectively, and why it’s necessary. Start this as soon as they can properly manipulate a toothbrush and dental floss. Before that, you will have to gently brush their teeth for them. This is a hands on exercise and the best way to teach them is to have them mimic mom and dad each evening.
- Use a Daily Flouride Rinse. If you live in an area where there is no fluoride in the water or live on well water then you and your family are not getting enough fluoride in the water supply so, use a daily fluoride rinse and be sure to ‘swish’ for 30 seconds then spit –do not let your kids swallow the fluoride rinse. In fact, do not give to your children till they are old enough to know the difference between spitting and swallowing. Be sure that the rinse you choose does not contain alcohol.
Make sure that these 10 tips become habit forming and your dental health will be greatly improved, and your time and cost spent at any dental office, greatly reduced. At Dr. Willoughby’s Bayview Dental Studio in South Surrey, we serve the surrounding areas of White Rock, South Surrey, Langley, and Cloverdale. If you have any further questions or concerns about your family’s general dental health be sure to give our office a call at 604.541.1800.