Top 5 Things Your Family Can Do to Promote Healthy Dental Habits

Archie Cook, Jr. DDS,
Signature Smiles of Cary, NC

As a new dad, I am learning how important it is to be a positive example of healthy habits and hygiene for our daughter. She really does watch and mimic everything we do! Why not give her a set of habits to learn and mimic that will give her a head start on healthy living? At Signature Smiles of Cary, NC, we believe in educating and making each patient aware of the best things that they can do to improve their oral care, which leads to overall healthcare. We spend time with each patient to help answer questions and ensure that he or she understands recommended treatments and next steps – it’s your health after all and we believe every patient deserves the best!

To kick off 2017 and to help celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month, we wanted to share with you the top 5 tips that we share with our families at Signature Smiles!

  1. Brush and floss twice a day, and most important, brush and floss before bed! This goes for your entire family, including your children, once they learn to floss. Overnight, while you are sleeping, the salivary flow in your mouth decreases. Saliva acts as a buffer to help block acids produced by bacteria in the food and drinks we consume. However, the decreased flow of saliva at night makes your teeth more prone to decay if you do not brush and floss before bedtime. Brushing also gives your teeth fluoride to further protect against these acid producing bacteria overnight. Make brushing and flossing a family event and make it FUN! Reinforce positive behavior and be an example for your little ones.
  1. See your dentist on a regular basis, and find a dentist who your family trusts, and someone who can help to put your family at ease. We often hear people complain about how expensive dental work is, and the old saying “prevention is less expensive than intervention” is very true! Regular visits along with proper dental care at home really are the best ways you can help keep your families’ dental care needs to a minimum.
  1. Eat more cheese! Did you know that cheese helps to increase the pH levels in your mouth, which help to neutralize the acids caused by bacteria that cause decay? Acidic mouth environments are more likely to see tooth decay, so having a bit of cheese after your meal whenever you are not able to brush is a great way to buffer those acids and reduce potential decay. String cheese and cube cheese are fun lunch options for not only your children, but for you too!
  1. Maintain a healthy, clean diet in order to help promote total body and oral health. The same foods and drinks that are “good for your body” are also great for your family’s teeth! Crunchy fruits and veggies, cheeses, meats, nuts, milk and water are all great foods and drinks to incorporate into your family diet.
  1. Oral care is a gateway to the rest of your body’s health. Multiple studies have shown links between bacteria, infections and decay in our mouths and other serious health conditions. Did you know that people who have serious gum disease are 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition? We often want to make sure our families exercise, eat healthy and get good sleep to be health. Don’t neglect your oral care when thinking of your family’s health. Foods and drinks that are high in calcium and phosphorus help to protect tooth enamel, and food and drink with high water content help to dilute the sugar we consume and also stimulate saliva flow. As you know, sugary foods and drinks can contribute to bacteria and tooth decay. Find fun healthy options for your family and when you do enjoy special treats, be sure to brush and floss afterwards!

We know your family’s health and well-being is important to you. It’s important that your children learn healthy habits so that it becomes a priority for them too. At Signature Smiles, we work very hard to ensure that all our patients, from 2 to 82, learn about healthy oral care habits and have a head start at a healthy life. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2017!