When it comes to oral hygiene, many parents are unsure when and how to start. Should baby start brushing when he has one tooth or when he reaches a certain age? What sort of toothpaste is best to start with? What comes as second nature to you can take years to teach to your children, and the oral habits you teach them now will build a foundation that lasts a lifetime.
What’s the big deal?
They’re going to lose their baby teeth anyway.
This attitude can ruin a child’s chances of maintaining healthy teeth and gums in the future. A child can develop gum disease just as easily as an adult, sometimes more so. When plaque and bacteria are not removed by brushing and flossing, gum disease and cavities can cause premature tooth loss. Yes, they will lose their baby teeth eventually on their own, but it is important for primary teeth to stay put long enough to hold the place of future permanent teeth. If the teeth are lost early, other teeth can shift, causing permanent teeth to grow in misaligned. Misalignment can foster problems such as tooth decay and TMJ, to name a few.
Studies have also shown that individuals who fail to develop a healthy oral health regimen as children are much less likely to develop healthy habits as an adult. Children with unhealthy teeth and gums will become adults with unhealthy teeth and gums. Save your child a lifetime of pain and expensive dental treatments by teaching oral hygiene early on.
Oral Health Guidelines for Children
- We advise parents to start brushing as soon your baby’s first tooth appears, but not with fluoridated toothpaste. Babies tend to swallow toothpaste, so use a baby formula that can be ingested safely.
- At one year of age, children can begin brushing after every meal with fluoridated toothpaste.
- As soon the gaps between the teeth close, teach your toddler to floss once a day.
- Don’t leave babies in the crib at night with bottles of milk or juice. This habit can lead to tooth decay.
- Bring your child in for his or her initial dental evaluation by one year of age.
- Schedule regular dental visits for the entire family every six months.
- Watch for signs of oral infection, such as bleeding gums, swollen or bright red gums, tooth pain, or bad breath.
- Provide a nutritious, balanced diet and avoid too many sugary, acidic, or starchy foods.
- Most importantly, keep up with your own oral hygiene regimen; children emulate the habits of their parents.
Simply Smiles Sarasota is your Florida source for the latest pediatric dentistry services. Set up your free dental consultation with Dr. Gekht today by calling 941-921-4654.
There are hundreds of products that are touted to make your smile whiter and some of them might actually work, but what causes our white teeth to become stained in the first place? You may have heard that coffee causes stains to form on the teeth, but common food products such as soy sauce can stain just as badly.
Common Teeth-Staining Culprits
- Dark drinks, such as coffee, tea, and soda
- Berries and beets
- Soy sauce and curry
- Red juices, such as grape or tomato
- Red wine
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato sauce
If some of your favorite foods and drinks were named on this list, you’re not alone. Perhaps that’s why over-the-counter teeth-whitening has become a multimillion dollar industry. Sometimes teeth can become discolored by other factors, causing stains that are very difficult to whiten:
- Excessive intake of fluoride
- Tetracycline medication
- Aging, tooth injury, or decay
- Thinning enamel
Why Does Enamel Become Stained?
The protective enamel on your teeth is porous, which allows it to absorb substances that it comes into contact with. If dark or brightly-colored substances are not cleaned away promptly, their pigments can adhere to the enamel permanently. Certain food compounds called tannins can increase the ability of the pigments to stick to the tooth. Not surprisingly, these tannins are found in drinks such as coffee, tea, and wine.
Another factor that greatly affects the staining of teeth is acidity in the mouth. When the saliva becomes too acidic, the tooth enamel can become softened and vulnerable. This not only makes staining more likely, it also weakens the tooth’s protection against decay and cavities. A few foods that contain a high level of acid include:
- Sports beverages and energy drinks
- Grapefruit and citrus juices
- Tomato sauce
- Red wine
- Coffee, soda, and tea
You may have noticed that a lot of foods that are known for staining teeth are also high in acid. This is no coincidence. It is the combination of acid and color that makes these foods so likely to stain.
So I Can’t Eat Anything?
Don’t feel like you have to completely avoid all staining or acidic foods in order to maintain white teeth. While it may be best not to consume too many acidic foods in one day, you can eat or drink many of these foods without consequence as long as you clean your teeth quickly afterward. Brushing your teeth after eating or drinking and flossing once a day will wash away most stains before they have a chance to stick.
If you do find that you’re teeth aren’t as brilliantly white as you wish, be careful of using over-the-counter whitening treatments. Abrasive toothpastes and whitening strips can weaken enamel and leave teeth feeling sensitive. Call Simply Smiles today to find out the safest ways to whiten your smile.
Simply Smiles Sarasota is your Florida source for the latest dentistry services. Set up your free dental consultation with Dr. Gekht today by calling 941-921-4654.