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Six Easy Steps to Good Dental Health

Jul 25, 2008
No matter what stage of life you are in, taking care of your teeth and gums is essential. However, like so many other things, the path to good dental health actually changes slightly with age.

It is never too early to promote dental health. Parents should begin "brushing" their infants' gums even before teeth erupt. This will not only help them become used to the sensation, it will also ensure that their gums stay clean. At this stage, however, rather than using a toothbrush, parents should simply wipe their infants' gums with a clean, damp washcloth.

The cloth can continue to be used as baby teeth break through. In both infancy and toddlerhood, it is important to not let your child fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Doing so can cause dental health problems as the sugar from the drinks can settle on their teeth and lead to cavities.

Once the child has the majority of their baby teeth, the path to dental health really begins. This is a good time to switch to a soft bristled toothbrush. One caveat though is that children under two years old should not brush with toothpaste; instead the toothbrush should simply be dampened with water.

As children get older, they should begin visiting the dentist biannually. This is also a good time to start them in the habit of twice daily brushing. Be sure to teach them how to brush prior to letting them take on the task themselves. Ensure that they eat healthy, non-sugary snacks and teach them the importance of good dental health.

A part of their dental health care that many people neglect is the personal oral exam. This step sounds much more complicated than it really is. A personal oral exam, put simply, consists of looking at the inside of your mouth for sores or lesions. The presence of either of those things could be a symptom of a bigger problem and therefore would warrant a trip to the dentist.

And that is the last piece of the puzzle. Even if a person does everything else they should, skipping their twice yearly trips to the dentist could be devastating to their dental health. The dentist looks not only for cavities, but also does a more thorough version of that personal oral exam. While looking at home is helpful, it is imperative that someone who truly knows what they are looking for checks your mouth regularly as well.

However, if you follow all of those simple steps, maintenance of your dental health is assured. And seeing as your mouth is more important than just a set of pearly whites, it should be considered time and effort well spent.
About the Author
Get more of Ornella's superb writing about bleeding gums and dental hygiene here.
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