Good dental health is a major part of overall good physical health, and childhood is the best time to learn the best dental habits and techniques. Children and adults can both benefit from some core best practices for a lifetime of excellent dental health, and family dentists are often the best teachers of those practices.
All aspects of good health begin with a proper diet. A clean diet of whole, natural foods will provide the necessary nutrients for strong teeth, a healthy body, and overall positive well-being. Carrots, apples, and other hard crunchy foods clean teeth naturally; many vegetables are high in calcium and other essential minerals, and the additional chewing necessary to process natural unprocessed foods stimulates the gums and strengthens the teeth.
Digestion begins in the mouth, and the bacteria present in the mouth can convert sugars and carbohydrates to acids which then attack tooth enamel. One should eat highly acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus along with other more neutral foods and plenty of liquids to dilute the acidic effect. Foods such as dairy products, meats, nuts, and green leafy vegetables restore minerals to teeth after acid exposure thus helping to preserve tooth enamel.
In addition to starting kids out right with a proper diet, parents should emphasize and practice proper brushing and flossing techniques on their children when they are brushing their teeth for them so that the children will feel that those practices are second nature when they take over for themselves. Parents should then continue to share “brushing time” with their kids as long as it is practical.
Dental care should be a regular regimen in its own right and not an afterthought to meals. Parents should take six-month checkups as seriously as they do birthdays and holidays. Brushing should be like voting: best when done “early and often”. Children should brush with a soft or medium brush, paying special attention to the back teeth, and they should start flossing as soon as their teeth begin to touch. Each mouth is different and a child’s mouth will change drastically as he grows, so parents should consult with their family dentists regularly for any recommended variations on standard brushing techniques.
The toothbrush need not only live in the bathroom: Travel-size versions of dental-care products are inexpensive and easy to stash in lunchboxes, backpacks, briefcases, and glove compartments for those moments when someone forgets to brush or simply does not have enough time for the regular routine. This ensures that kids and adults alike can properly take care of their teeth wherever they go.
Prosthodontists, Orthodontists, and cosmetic dentists are trained in aesthetic and restorative dental care for those that have damaged or misaligned teeth. Cosmetic dentists take over where nature fails, using techniques ranging from simple whitening to major surgery to repair and restore proper function and aesthetic appeal in patients of all ages.
Family dentists are allies in good health, not bogeymen to be feared, and children that are raised with proper dental awareness and techniques become adults with great teeth and good dental health.