Don’t let back-to-school mean a step back for oral hygiene (for kids or parents)! Routine physical examinations, including hearing and vision tests help ensure that kids are in good health before school begins. A dental exam is as important as booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Children need to see their dentist (as should parents) at intervals recommended by their dentist. Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve, and tooth loss. Dental infections that are left untreated can even spread to other parts of the body and, in very rare cases, be life threatening.
I recently had my wisdom teeth extracted and the immense pain made me realize how often I take my teeth—and overall dental hygiene—for granted. Some basic, but critically important steps can prevent a host of health problems later in life. As so many of our readers turn their focus on getting their children back-to-school, it’s important to remember that proper dental care should be part of every kids (and grownups!) day. You can practice preventive dentistry by adopting these healthy habits:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss between teeth once a day
- Eat a balanced diet
- Limit between-meal snacks
- Schedule regular dental visits (every 6 months)
- Avoid tobacco
By following a healthy dental routine and making smart food choices, you can lower your risk for tooth decay. More than one-half of all children aged 5 to 9 years have at least one cavity or filling. A painful tooth or chronic dental problem can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, and concentrating (led to my wisdom teeth extraction!). Yi Guo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of health outcomes and policy at the UF Southeast Center for Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health says that “oral health is extremely important, as it has been linked with major health problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease.”
Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of any good oral hygiene routine. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, always be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Also, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. It makes no difference whether you choose a manual or powered toothbrush—just make sure to brush twice a day, every day!
If you want your body to be healthy, your must keep your teeth and gums healthy. Dental health can influence conditions such as diabetes, oral cancer, coronary artery disease (CAD) and low birth weight and premature babies. A relationship exists between a healthy mouth and overall good health. If you don’t take care of your teeth and properly manage your oral health, you may find yourself forking over thousands of dollars in restorative dental care. Did you know that a full mouth reconstruction can cost between $45,000 and $80,000? By practicing proper dental hygiene, you can safeguard yourself from these exorbitant dental costs. That means it’s important to get regular preventive dental care to help maintain your good oral health and overall health (and save money!).
To play a fun Fact or Fiction game about Dental Health, please click here to see if you know more than you can chew!