February is National Dental Health Month

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
February 21, 2011

Children playing

Everyone knows that brushing every day is a key to strong, healthy teeth - but that's not all there is to do.  

Figures from the Adult Dental Health Survey reveal that common dental products such as mouthwash and dental floss aren't being used as part of an all-round routine, with just 31% of people using mouthwash and just 22% using floss.

The same data also showed 42% of adults only use a toothbrush and toothpaste, with only 27% saying they use an electric brush.

That could be why two in every three adults have visible plaque, and also why one in three children will start school with obvious dental decay.

That's also one reason why the American Dental Association (ADA) promotes February as National Dental Health Month, and often has a focus on children's oral and dental health, so as to star the right habits early.  

Some common tips to teach children about dental care include:

Start healthy habits early. The standards are:

  • Brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, or for better results, brush after every meal.
  • Floss teeth daily, or use an interdental cleaner to remove plaque from the gumline area and the sides of the teeth.
  • Limit the number of between-meal snacks.
  • Visit the dentist regularly.

Keep on the look out for Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually caused by plaque that produces toxins which irritate gum tissue. During puberty, gums can become more sensitive to these toxins because of hormonal changes. If your kids notice any of the following signs of gum disease, take them to the dentist:

  • chronic bad breath
  • a bad taste
  • pus that appears at the gumline
  • red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • detachment of gums from the teeth
  • teeth that have loosened or changed position

Watch What They Eat

Kids are known for eating sweet snacks, fast foods and meals on-the-run, and these are habits that create tooth decay and dental problems. If desserts are going be eaten, they should be eaten at meal times when other foods help neutralize their damaging effects. When snacking, encourage eating foods that are good for teeth like nuts, popcorn, cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, and sugarless gum or candy.

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