Dr. Oxley’s Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Mouth
Achieve optimal oral health in your family.
Are you dreaming of cavity-free teeth and shiny, white smiles for everyone in your family? Making the move to prioritize oral health as a family goal is a great way of not only preventing oral health issues like tooth decay, but also improving everyone’s overall health as well.
Here are Dr. Oxley’s top tips for families striving for beautiful, healthy smiles.
1. Always brush at least twice a day for two minutes and floss.
Brushing and flossing are the two most important things you can do to prevent cavities and other oral health issues. Make sure everyone in your family follows the recommended standard of brushing twice a day for a complete two minutes while using thorough brushing techniques. It’s also important to floss at least once a day, preferably before your bedtime brushing.
2. Never skip bedtime teeth brushing and flossing sessions.
A dental hygiene session should never be skipped, but bedtime brushing and flossing are especially important to oral health. No matter how sleepy someone feels, make sure they floss and brush after their last meal of the day. Otherwise, food debris and bacteria will be left in the mouth for eight hours or more, resulting in a much higher risk of tooth decay.
3. Show your kids that you prioritize your oral health.
Kids of all ages, even those angsty teens, look to their parents and caregivers as examples of how to act. Telling your kids to take care of their teeth and avoid sugar is one thing, but to really push the point across, you need to show them that you prioritize your smile. Set an example of great oral health, and your kids are more likely to develop the same habits.
4. Focus most main meals around smile-friendly foods.
Processed foods and pre-packaged meals aren’t typically the most smile-friendly options. Rather than trying to make a huge change toward healthy eating, begin by focusing one or two main meals on healthy, smile-friendly foods. For example, a busy family might have breakfast on the go before school, but they might also make the extra effort of having a delicious and nutritious meal for dinner. Remember, your family’s diet has a significant impact on their oral health.
5. Keep an eye on sugar intake, particularly beverages and snacks.
Sugar lurks everywhere, even in food items that many of us believe to be relatively healthy. Check labels and be aware of naturally occurring sugars in beverages like fruit juice. Fruit juice is often a favorite drink of kids, but it’s high in sugar and sometimes natural acids that can attack tooth enamel. Keep sugar consumption at a minimum and limit 100% fruit juice to eight ounces or less a day.
6. Learn about dental hygiene for babies before the first tooth erupts.
Did you know your baby’s first dental appointment should happen when their very first tooth arrives? During this appointment, your family dentist will also teach you how to care for your baby’s smile at home, including dietary tips and brushing techniques. Even infants and toddlers can get cavities, so attending early dental appointments and learning as much as you can about dental hygiene during infancy are crucial.
7. Teach kids proper oral care techniques and supervise occasionally.
As your kids grow and become more independent, take the time to teach them how to care for their smiles by themselves. Explain why brushing and flossing are important, even if sometimes we don’t feel like doing it. Show them how to brush and floss effectively and provide age-appropriate toothbrushes and oral care products designed for kids. Even as your kids grow older, take the time to check in and make sure they’re still practicing proper oral care habits.
8. Use ADA-approved oral care products made for cavity prevention.
When shopping for oral care products for your family, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the bottle, box, or tube. This signifies that the product is dentist-approved and safe for you and your family. Fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash is typically the standard for maintaining optimal oral health as it focuses on protecting tooth enamel and preventing cavities. If you ever have questions about which oral care products to use, especially if a family member has unique needs, call your dentist for recommendations.
9. Follow a dentist-recommended schedule for visits and evaluations.
Most kids and adults should see a dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. However, sometimes a dentist might recommend more frequent visits, such as every three or four months. This is often the case if a potential dental issue is being monitored or if a family member has a greater risk for plaque buildup. Parents should also be aware of recommended evaluations. For example, a child’s first orthodontic evaluation should happen by their seventh birthday. Your family dentist will remind you of these important evaluations.
10. Make dental appointments a happy event for everyone involved.
Dental anxiety can impact kids as well as adults. You can help your family learn to enjoy their visits to the family dentist by making the day a happy one for everyone. You might go out for a fun activity after a routine checkup, such as a trip to the park, a shopping trip, or a family-favorite dinner. Doing this gradually helps kids learn that dental appointment days can be a lot of fun.
Exceptional Family Dentistry in New Bern, NC
Dr. Oxley and his team are passionate about providing the highest level of dental care possible for families in and around New Bern. We provide a complete menu of services, including general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. We also welcome kids of all ages as well as their parents to make us their long-term family dental home. To schedule an appointment for yourself or your family, you can give our office a call or request an appointment online.