While most people have been encouraged to brush and floss their teeth regularly, it’s a tough habit to establish, especially later in life. That’s why dentists are so keen on helping children start healthy habits early on, so they’re less likely to deal with serious dental problems years down the line because of poor oral health habits. If you’re a parent of a young child, how can you help establish a friendship between kids and their oral health
The first key is starting the habit as early as possible, even before they have teeth.
By wiping their gums with a clean, soft cloth or very soft toothbrush, you can help your infant get used to the idea and sensation of oral cleanliness being a regular part of their day. As they get a little older and begin teething, this ritual can be soothing and enjoyable too.
Don’t Assume They’re Doing It Right
While a child of 3 or 4 may be able to move a toothbrush around their mouth and work up a lather, they probably still need some help adequately brushing every tooth.
This isn’t just a matter of being easily distracted or not fully appreciating the importance of doing a thorough job. Instead, they likely don’t yet have the motor skills and coordination necessary to do a really good job brushing everywhere. In this case, assisting children until they’re more in control goes a long way.
Since you want brushing and flossing to be a lifelong habit for your children, it’s important to give them a reason to care about it before they’re old enough to truly appreciate oral health.
Many parents have found that sticker charts work especially well:
Create a simple grid that covers a week and tape it to the bathroom mirror. (There are plenty of free printable charts available online, or you can draw your own.)
Let your child pick out stickers they like and hang them up next to the chart.
Decide on a simple, (non-sugary) privilege or treat your child will earn if they do a good job filling in the sticker chart each time they brush and floss properly.
Be sure to check with your child’s dentist, as they may have similar ideas and materials right there in their office to share with you.
Make it Fun
Along the same lines as the sticker chart suggested above, anything you can do to make maintaining good oral health less tedious and more fun, the better the chance you’re going to teach your kids to love brushing and flossing in the long run.
There are plenty of novelty toothbrushes, floss holders, flavored toothpastes, and other accessory options you can experiment with to make the whole experience more engaging and enjoyable. Sometimes, all it takes to get a young child interested in brushing and flossing regularly is for them to see you doing it and enjoying it. In fact, if you make a habit of participating with them every day, they might look forward to this special time you have together.
It’s Never Too Late
Although it’s certainly preferable for excellent oral health habits to start when a child is young, it’s never too late to establish good patterns.
If your child is already in school and still doesn’t like to brush and floss, there’s not a moment to lose. You may need to be especially creative to find ways to incentivize their participation, but it can be done.
For advice on your kids and their oral health, ask your local Tooth Corner or check back later, we might have another blog in store for you!
Do you ever cringe when you watch someone bite into ice cream? Are you sometimes fearful of that first sip of hot soup or drink of tea? You’re not alone. Sensitive teeth are one of the most common complaints we hear about!
Teeth Become Sensitive When Nerves Are Exposed
On the outside of each tooth is a protective layer of enamel. Over time, the enamel can wear away, leaving an inner layer called the dentin, exposed. This occurs due to normal wear and tear, poor dental hygiene and/or certain lifestyle choices. Dentin contains fluid-filled tubules that reach into the innermost part of the tooth where all the nerves reside. Because the nerves inside the tooth are exposed when the enamel is eroded away, sensitivity is the result. Another form of tooth sensitivity develops when gum recession leaves the root of the tooth exposed to food, drink and air.
Desensitising Toothpaste Can Help
Desensitising toothpastes are a great way to ease tooth sensitivity. Many of our patients ask us how these toothpastes actually work! It’s simple: they are specially formulated to either block the tubules in the dentin, protecting the nerves in the tooth from exposure, or numb your teeth, in a manner of speaking, so you don’t register the pain of sensitivity.
It’s important to remember, however, that if your teeth are at all sensitive, your first stop should be your dentist’s office. Some problems that cause teeth to be sensitive can be quite serious and may require more extensive treatment than desensitising toothpaste can provide.
Follow These Helpful Tips To Avoid Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth can range from mildly annoying to severely painful. To prevent further damage to your teeth, or any sensitivity in the first place, follow the suggestions below:
Practice proper oral hygiene: Gum disease and tooth decay are frequently the cause of tooth sensitivity. Avoid smoking or any form of tobacco use.
Don’t brush so hard: Aggressive brushing or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and enamel erosion. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much force. Plaque comes off easier than you think!
Protect your teeth: If you clench your teeth frequently or have been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding), make sure you protect your teeth with a night-guard provided to you by your dentist and try to be conscious of your clenching habits during the day.
Make sure your diet is healthy: Eat sugar and carbohydrates in moderation. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are good for your teeth such as dairy products and vegetables.
Take Our Advice! Don’t Live With Pain!
No matter what your level of discomfort, the tooth corner believe that nobody should have to live with tooth pain. If you experience any kind of sensitivity in your teeth, come in and see us! We can diagnose the root cause of your sensitivity and work out the best way to treat it.
As parents, you know that when your child comes home from school, they often run straight for the pantry! We understand that kids can be a bit hungry after a long day at school and we want to help you provide you with smile-friendly snacks that won’t only fill their bellies, but will benefit their teeth as well!
Try These Smile-Friendly Snacks!
Consuming a lot of starchy and sugary treats in the afternoon can do a number on a child’s teeth—not to mention ruin their appetite for dinner! Sticky, sugary snacks can adhere to your child’s teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing harmful cavities. In order to avoid snack-induced cavities and other oral health concerns, try these ideas instead:
Leafy Greens and Fresh Veggies
Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and magnesium–all essential for healthy teeth and gums. Veggies like broccoli and celery are great as well! In addition to being rich in vitamins, broccoli has been shown to create an acid-resistant “shield” for your teeth. As for celery, because of its fibrous material, it massages gums, cleans teeth, and encourages saliva production, making it a natural tooth scrubber!
If your kids like a little crunch in their snack, you could even try making homemade veggie chips! You can use anything from kale and spinach to sweet potatoes and carrots. Simply mix your veggies with enough olive oil to coat them, add any spices you’d like (garlic or pepper is always good), and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, flip your veggies, and then bake until crispy!
Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt
Dairy is the go-to dental snack for a reason! Few other foods give such a great boost of calcium. Cheese and yogurt even help cut acidity, helping protect your child’s teeth from erosion caused by acidic fruit juices. If your child doesn’t just want plain yogurt, fruit and yogurt parfaits are a great option to add some flavor and healthy vitamins to their snack.
Fruit High in Vitamin C
A lack of vitamin C can break down the collagen network in our gums, making them tender and more susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C. To make their citrus snack fun, you can make fun kabobs with some citrus, berries, and some of their favourite cheeses.
If you’d like some healthy and creative school lunch ideas, check out these tips from Martha Stewart!
Do You Have Anything To Add?
Do you have any healthy snack recipes of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment below and share this with your friends and family! Maybe they’ll have snack recipes of their own!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
We’ve all heard our dentists tell us to “brush twice a day and floss regularly.” But is that all you need to do to build strong teeth and gums? Not exactly. The following are many do’s and don’ts of brushing your teeth to ensure they stay at their healthiest, strongest and brightest.
Tooth Brushing Dos:
Brush with fluoride toothpastes and gels. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that helps prevent and even reverse early stages of tooth decay.
Choose a toothbrush that is appropriately sized and use a soft-bristled brush. Bristles that are too hard can injure your gums and cause recession.
Brush for 2 minutes covering all sections of the mouth (upper, lower, inside, outside or behind). A motorized (electric or battery-operated) toothbrush with a timer can be a great choice; as most people don’t realize 30 seconds per mouth section is a long time. Don’t forget to use short, gentle strokes that cover one or two teeth at a time.
Brush shortly after you’ve consumed anything particularly sweet or chewy, in addition to the normal two times a day (morning and bedtime). If it’s not convenient to brush, rinse with mouthwash or water to wash away food particles, sugar residue and to help dilute acids produced by decay-forming bacteria.
Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or whenever the bristles start showing signs of excessive wear. Also replace after any illness (cold, flu, etc.). Germs can live on the bristles so if you continue to use the same toothbrush, it could lead to reinfection.
Brush your tongue once a day with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. Sulphur-emitting bacteria can reside on the tongue surface and are largely responsible for bad breath. One or two swipes from back to front will suffice to reduce the bacterial count in your mouth and help control halitosis.
Keep toothbrush heads dry after use.
Tooth Brushing Don’ts:
Don’t ever share toothbrushes with anyone, even your family members. Germs and gum disease can be transferred via moist brushes.
Don’t brush your teeth within 30 minutes of consuming acidic (citrus fruit) foods or beverages (juices, sports drinks, soft drinks). The acids soften the tooth structure and make them more susceptible to abrasion through brushing.
Don’t use a hard-bristled brush or excessive force. You are cleaning your teeth and gums, not the grout between your bathroom tiles! Be gentle.
Don’t allow children 2 years old and under to ingest toothpaste. Children should always brush teeth under the supervision of an adult. Tip: Children need assistance with oral hygiene until they possess the dexterity to tie their own shoelaces.
Don’t forget to rinse! Rinsing collects and discards all of the bacteria you just brushed from your teeth and gums and prevents it from re-depositing on the tooth surface.
The Most Important Don’t: Don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist (Like us) every 6 months. Bi-annual professional cleanings and exams are the easiest way to avoid painful and costly dental problems in the future.
Share this with your friends and family and let us know if you have any other tips to keeping your teeth healthy!