As a parent, you’re responsible for taking care of your children’s teeth. Sure, you work hard to get them to be responsible and take care of things themselves. That’s an important part of growing up. Still, you are the one who needs to educate them on how to take care of their dental health. Kids don’t know the negative effects of sugar until you tell them.
Call our Roseville, CA dental office today at 916-945-9985 and schedule a family dentistry appointment. Dr. Miller knows how to work with children and can help them feel safe and secure here.
Besides being responsible for your kids, you have to take care of your own teeth and gums. No one is going to do that for you. To help with both your dental health and your kids’, here are 10 little-known ways to keep everyone’s teeth and gums healthy.
1. Get some sun.
Your body needs vitamin D. Unlike most vitamins, this one is hard to find in foods naturally. You can get some from milk, but you usually get it from sunlight. When you expose your skin to the sun, your body obtains the vitamin D it needs. This vitamin helps your teeth stay strong and healthy. (Contrary to popular belief, teeth are not the same as bones. They are made from similar tissues and minerals, however, so vitamin D helps both stay strong.)
2. Quit smoking.
If you need yet another reason to quit using tobacco, here’s one more. Tobacco interferes with your immune system. That means people who smoke are less able to fight off gum disease. The smoke itself has lots of negative effects on your teeth. It stains your teeth yellow. It helps plaque and tartar build up on your enamel. It can cause cancer in your mouth. It also makes you heal slower, so any dental treatment takes longer to heal from.
3. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Many people think hard bristles are needed to really scrub teeth clean. That is not true. Hard bristles can actually cause a tiny amount of damage to your enamel. Over time, this can add up and cause problems. A soft-bristled toothbrush is more than strong enough to get rid of the food particles stuck to your teeth and gums.
4. Brush after meals — but not always right after.
Whenever you eat, small particles of food get trapped in your mouth. Harmful bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities live off of that, so brushing and flossing helps get rid of those food particles. Some foods are very acidic, and that acid can cling to your teeth. Brushing right after you’re done can push the acid into your enamel, hurting your teeth. Wait about 30 minutes before cleaning your teeth and gums if you’ve just consumed highly acidic food or drink.
5. Skip sports drinks and juice.
You know to avoid sugary foods like soda and candy. That’s because bacteria thrive off of high-energy substances like sugar. Fruit juice like orange or apple juice can have as much sugar as a can of soda. Even all-natural juices without added sweeteners can coat your teeth in sugar. Sports drinks don’t have as much sugar, but they still have some and may also be packed with carbohydrates other than sugar. Bacteria love carbs (sugar is a form of carbohydrates), so limit sports drinks just like you would soda and fruit drinks.
6. Skip diet sodas.
Speaking of soda, isn’t diet soda good because it has no sugar? Yes and no. True, diet sodas do not have sugar, so they are better than regular sodas. However, all soda is highly acidic. That’s what gives soda a tangy flavor. This acid erodes your enamel. That means drinking a diet soda can cause similar damage to your enamel as sugary soda. As with other drinks, use diet soda in moderation.
7. Eat some cheese.
As with Vitamin D, what helps your bones can also help your teeth. Calcium can help your teeth stay strong and healthy, and cheese has plenty of calcium. There is also some research showing a protein found in cheese might interfere with bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
8. Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol.
Sugarless gum can help get rid of food stuck in your mouth. It also increases your saliva, which helps wash away substances coating your teeth. Many sugar-free gums use an artificial sweetener called xylitol. This is harmless to us, but it tends to starve the bacteria behind tooth decay and gum disease.
At our Roseville, CA dental office, we are dedicated to helping you and your family have great smiles. Dr. Miller is your Roseville dentist offering pediatric and adult dentistry, so he knows how to take care of children and adults. Call us today at 916-945-9985 for your next appointment.