Smile Humboldt Myth Busters!

                                           
FACT:

Parents and caregivers play an essential part in children’s oral health and in creating healthy lifelong habits. Young children do not have the fine motor skills to properly brush or floss their own teeth. Children need help to remove plaque and food from their teeth.  An adult should help a child brush and floss until they are about 8 years old. Allow your child to brush their own teeth but then go back yourself after they are done to brush the harder to reach areas.

 
After they are 8, they will need light supervision until they are 12 to ensure that they have brushed properly.  Brushing with your child is a great way to make sure they are brushing well. It is crucial for parents and caregivers to help children brush and floss daily to prevent dental decay. Children (and adults) need to be brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once a day for a healthy smile.






 
YOU can prevent dental decay!
                                                                                     
F
ACT:

The truth is that the health of your mouth and your general health are connected together more than you realize. Our mouths are filled with many kinds of bacteria. Having good oral hygiene and our bodies’ natural defenses are enough to reduce the impacts of these bacteria. Serious health problems can emerge when good oral hygiene is not practiced daily. Not brushing and flossing correctly increases the amount of bacteria in the mouth leading to poor oral health that can cause other serious health problems. These serious health problems include: 
 
1. Cardiovascular disease: Oral bacteria can cause inflammation and infection in the mouth. Research suggests that this bacteria is linked to strokes and heart
disease.
 A.   Atherosclerosis: Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and move to the arteries in the heart causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis can increase the chances of a heart attack or stroke because the plaque builds up in the arteries blocking the flow.
B.   Endocarditis: Oral bacteria can cause inflammation and infection in the inner lining of the heart.

2. Respiratory Infections: In the Journal of Periodontology, they state that gum disease can lead to infection in the lungs, including pneumonia. This can be caused by breathing in the bacteria from infected teeth and/or gums over a long time.

3. Diabetes Complications: Inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. It is especially important to practice proper hygiene habits if one has diabetes. Those who have diabetes are also more vulnerable to getting periodontal disease.

4. Premature Birth and Low Birth Weight: Periodontal disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight in babies.

 
      
Protect your health by:
Brushing two times a day for two minutes each time.
Flossing once a day.
Consuming healthy foods/drinks. Drink more water and limit sugary foods.  
Going to the dentist twice a year.


 
FACT:

What you eat matters! Nutrition plays a huge part in having a healthy smile.   Nutrition is just as important as brushing and flossing. Most people don’t realize that “what” and “when” they eat affects their teeth.
 
The bacteria in your mouth turn the sugars and other carbohydrates in your food into acid. These foods include chips, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, candy, bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, and other sugary/starchy foods. The acids that are produced are what break down the enamel in your teeth. The enamel is an important protective layer that cannot fix itself once it has been eroded by acids.
 
The more sugary and starchy foods that you eat creates a higher production of acid in your mouth. More acid can cause more tooth decay. This is why it is better to limit these sugary/starchy foods and drinks. Eating healthier foods and drinking more water makes a great difference in your oral health.
 


Another thing to look out for are foods and drinks that are very acidic. These include sports drinks, energy drinks, sour candy, and soda. On top of already having a lot of acid they also have a lot of sugar which then gets turned into more acid. The acid in these foods and drinks are harmful to the enamel.

Continual snacking is another problem that contributes to tooth decay. It is better to eat a sweet food with your meal instead of in between meals. Studies show this reduces the chance of tooth decay. If you do need to snack, it is better to choose healthier options such as cheese, nuts, fruits, or vegetables.
 
Drink more water! Water is the best drink to drink. It can wash away some of those acids that are produced and clean your teeth as well.
 
Here are other tips for a healthy smile:
  • Brush two times a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss once a day
  • Visit the dentist twice a year for a cleaning/check-up
  • Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol (Xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth)



FACT:
Flossing is a very important part of good oral hygiene. Flossing removes bacteria and plaque that builds up in between your teeth and under the gum line. When you don't floss, the bacteria and plaque build up. This can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Believe it or not, there is a right way to floss. Flossing Correctly makes a big difference in your oral hygiene and overall health. The video below shows the proper way to floss with string floss. 

 

Here's a video that shows how to floss correctly with flossers:

Whatever type of floss you decide to use, make sure that you are using it correctly to make the tool as effective as possible. Whether you floss before or after you brush (or at any other time) is entirely up to you. The important thing is to get flossing into your routine every day. Flossing once a day helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay!
FACT:
Baby teeth are very important! Baby teeth help children chew their food, talk, and smile. Children typically begin to lose their teeth around 5 years of age. There are consequences to losing baby teeth too young because of tooth decay. Losing baby teeth too early can make it difficult for children to eat certain healthy crunchy foods. Losing baby teeth too soon can also lose the spot for the adult teeth coming in and possibly cause crooked or crowded teeth. Having dental problems early in life can create a bad relationship between a child and the dentist. Children might begin to connect the dentist with pain and make it harder to take them to the dentist. Creating healthy dental habits begins at birth.

Tips for taking care of your child’s teeth:

    •    Wipe gums after every feeding with a clean washcloth. Before your baby has teeth, wipe the gums gently with a clean washcloth. This helps reduce the amount of cavity causing bacteria. Begin brushing their teeth as soon as teeth appear.
    •    American Dental Association recommends 1st tooth, 1st visit to the dentist! Going to the dentist early creates a positive relationship between the child and the dentist. This is also a great opportunity for the parents to learn more about how to take care of their child’s teeth.
    •    Establish a nighttime routine. Brush, Book, Bed. Make brushing fun! Create a routine by brushing with the child, reading a book, and going to bed.
    •     Do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in your mouth. We all have unique and contagious bacteria that can create cavities. Parents and caregivers can unknowingly pass along this bacteria by sharing common items like toothbrushes, cups, straws, or utensils.



 


FACT:

 

"Bad teeth don't necessarily run in the family, but bad dental habits do," says American Dental Association dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty. Lack of regular brushing and flossing, eathing foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, and drinking sugary and acidic drinks leas to tooth decay. Many adults may have had poor oral health habits as children leading to increased dental decay as adults. YOU can break the cycle!
 Break the cycle!
Make oral health a priority for the entire family!
  Brush two times a day for two minutes each time
  Use fluoridated toothpaste.
  Floss at least once a day.
  Eat healthy and nutritious foods.
  Drink plenty of water.
  Visit the dentist regularly.
  Assist children 8 years old and under by brushing and flossing their teeth daily.


Tips for infants:
 

Avoid sharing spoons/cutlery or cleaning your baby’s pacifier with your mouth. Babies aren’t born with the bacteria that cause tooth decay. The longer you can keep these bacteria away from their mouth the better.
Before teeth erupt make sure to wipe the gums with a clean washcloth after every feeding.

 

FACT:

 

Preventative dental cleanings and exams are not only safe but they are recommended for pregnant women! It is important to take care of teeth and gums during pregnancy because the increase in hormone levels during pregnancy can cause gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing irritation to gums. Other risks include gingivitis, loose teeth, tooth decay, tooth loss, and more. Preventive dental work while pregnant is important to avoid gum disease, which has been linked to premature birth and death.   

It is recommended to get the needed dental work done in the second trimester because it becomes more difficult to lie back for a long period of time during the third trimester.  Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening should be postponed until after the birth.

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) x-rays such as dental or chest x-rays are safe during pregnancy. In fact, ACOG recommends maintaining good oral health by keeping up with routine dental procedures like cleanings, check-ups, fillings, and root canals.
Going to the dentist is an important part of having a healthy pregnancy!