DENTAL TIPS FOR ADULTS
- You should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
- Choose an ADA-accepted toothbrush that has polished bristles because they are less likely to injure gum tissue. Use a soft bristled toothbrush with a size and shape that allows you to reach all tooth surfaces.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become worn or frayed.
- Oral irrigators are used as an aid for people with braces or fixed partial dentures, they should not replace regular brushing or flossing.
- If you experience pain or sore muscles in the jaw joint area (in front of your ears) or even headaches, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep. Speak to your dentist about being fitted for a night guard, which will protect your teeth and the joint area.
- Gums should not bleed upon brushing. This is an indication of periodontal disease. Your dentist should do a thorough exam to evaluate the extent of the disease and prescribe an appropriate regimen.
- Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Fluoride mouth rinses strengthen the teeth and can help prevent decay at all ages.
- Consume plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones.
- Avoid sticky sweets, such as taffies, toffees, soft candies and pastries. These types of foods stick to your teeth and feed decay-causing bacteria. When you do eat sweets, eat them after a meal. When candies are eaten alone, they are more likely to remain stuck between your teeth.
- Do eat crunchy foods that naturally clean the teeth (apples, carrots, and other raw vegetables) and foods with ample vitamin C, like citrus fruits and broccoli.
- Be aware that excessive amounts of coffee, tea, red wine and other beverages can stain your teeth.
- Don’t chew on ice, popcorn kernels, lollipops or other hard foods. Doing so can crack or otherwise damage your teeth or restorations.
- If you can’t brush your teeth after eating, rinse your mouth with water.
- If you wear removable appliances, clean them after eating and rinse before replacing them in your mouth.
Dental Tips for Children
- Parents should wipe their newborn’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding to control the accumulation of plaque and to establish this ritual as part of the daily routine.
- Parents should begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as they come in, with only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Ideally, flossing should begin when two adjacent teeth touch.
- Parents should take their young child with them to their next routine dentist appointment to reduce some of the child’s potential anxiety in the dental chair. The child will have a chance to get used to the sounds, smells and staff in the dental office, prior to his/her own dental visit.
- Children should visit the dentist no later than six months after the first tooth erupts, or before the child’s first birthday.
- Parents should not give an unattended or sleeping child a bottle with milk or juice. Instead, children should drink water to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
- It is important for children aged 6 months to 16 years to drink water that is optimally fluoridated drinking water (well water and bottled or spring water do not have any fluoride). Most communities have fluoridated tap water, but if it is not available the dentist can recommend a dietary fluoride supplement dosage.
- Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent tooth decay in children. The dental sealant procedure takes only minutes, is painless, is less than half the cost of a filling and is virtually 100 percent effective at stopping decay.
- Children involved in sports need proper mouth protection to prevent mouth injuries, knocked-out teeth and possible concussions. Ask your dentist about customized mouth guards.
- If a child or an adult has a permanent tooth knocked out of his/her mouth, follow these procedures: gently rinse (not scrub) the tooth off and place it in a cup of warm milk (salt water is the second best choice; plain water, the third best), call the dentist and bring the child and the soaking tooth in immediately for re-implantation and stabilization.
Fun Dental Facts
- How much is the Tooth Fairy paying per tooth? Around $2 per tooth, according to Securian Dental Plans, an insurance provider. (12/05, Money Magazine)
- Top of the American teeth stakes in the poll for greatest looking teeth were Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.
- The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing teeth over lifetime.
- 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss.
- Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
- The number of cavities in the average mouth is down, and people are keeping their teeth longer. People, on average, have healthier mouths than even 10 years ago.
- The number of cavities in the average mouth is down and people are keeping their teeth longer. People, on average, have healthier mouths than even 10 years ago. Specifically:
—The decline in tooth decay was greatest among kids, but holds across every age group.
—Only 40% of young people age 6 to 19 have ever in their lives had cavities. That’s down from 50% a decade ago.
—Over the last ten, years the proportion of people age 60 who have lost all their teeth had decreased from 33% to 25%.
—Use of dental sealants, which block tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of kids’ vulnerable molars, was up 64%. 30% of kids had had at least one sealed tooth.
—Adults with post-high-school diplomas have an average of three more teeth than those without a high school diploma.
—Smokers remain three times more likely than non-smokers to lose all their teeth. This figure has not changed from a decade ago.
—Socio-economic status plays a definite role in one’s general and dental health.33% of low-income adults have untreated decay. This compares with 16% of middle- and higher-income adults. 19% of kids living in poverty have untreated decay, compared with 8% of wealthier kids. (Source : CDC & ADA 1/06)
- The average toothbrush contains about 2,5000 bristles grouped into about 40 tufts per toothbrush. The tufts are folded over a metal staple and forced onto pre-cored holes in the head and fused into the head with heat. The handle is made of at least two materials, usually plastic and rubber.
- The average woman smiles about 62 times a day! A man? Only 8!
Kids laugh around 400 times a day. Grown-ups just 15. Smilers in school yearbooks are more likely to have successful careers and marriages than poker faced peers.
- According to a 1997 Gallup Poll, dentistry is the fifth most trusted profession in America.
- Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children ages 5-17 with 59% affected.
- More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental related illness.
- Employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year due to oral health problems or dental visits.
- Just 40% of children in poor or near-poor poverty level have had a preventive dental visit in the past year.
- 44% of dental care expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.
(Source: Issue Briefs on Challenges for the 21st Century: Chronic and Disabling Conditions)