Holidays can cause stress on our teeth. We tend to take holidays as time to temporarily forget about the continuance effort it takes to keep our teeth healthy.
But you do not have to totally abandon care for your teeth in order to have a good time. Here are three great ideas to keep you smiling this July 4th weekend.
Eat this but not that.
Even though there are foods like candy or chips, try options that are healthy and tasty. What about a parfait made out of greek yogurt? You can and fruits like berries for the right amount of sweetness. Involving your children can be fun as well.
Do not forget the water.
Sugar drinks are common during the 4th of July. Water is better than sodas and sports drinks, it keeps you hydrated. Water helps rinse away food particles trapped in your teeth and limits the growth of bacteria.
Toothbrush on the Go.
Just because you are away from home, should not mean you should neglect your teeth. Bring a toothbrush to clean the bacteria away as well as trapped particles in your teeth. Help you children make your own “tooth-care bag”.
Some huge benefactors to tooth decay and staining are foods and drinks high in sugars and citric acids.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth using sugar from foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. Sugar-sweetened beverages have high levels of sugar and drinking these can significantly contribute to tooth decay.
Regular and ‘diet’ soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, fruit drinks and cordials also have high acid levels that can cause tooth erosion.
Tooth erosion occurs when acid attacks the teeth to dissolve the outer surface of tooth enamel. Regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and exposure of the inner layers of the tooth that may become sensitive and painful.
Each acid attack lasts for around 20 minutes.
Every time you take a sip of the drink, the acid damage begins all over again. Limiting or eliminating these from kid’s diets is a good way to help preserve enamel and keep teeth white.
For kids, this may be hard, but reducing the amount of soda and other acidic foods and drinks is in their long-term dental health interest.
Keeping the amount of sugars and acids in their diet to a low will help preserve enamel and keep teeth whiter.
Foods that are high in carbohydrates, starches, and sugars can cause dental decay and have a negative impact on dental health when consumed in immoderate amounts or when left on the teeth too long after eating. Fostering a healthy and well-balanced diet for children from an early age helps form habits that result in a lifetime of strong teeth and overall better health. Say no to sugary foods. Start by buying healthy snacks and store them away from your child’s reach.
Here are some nutritional choices to keep their teeth healthier and cleaner:
- Lean meats, nuts, and proteins—These are a good source of protein for children and help strengthen tooth enamel.
- Fruits and vegetables—Fruits and veggies are a good snack alternative to foods rich in carbohydrates. Eating crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables every day helps remove some substances that adhere to the surface of the teeth when eating, as well as promote overall health.
- Calcium Sources—Strong sources of calcium are crucial to your child’s bones and for building strong teeth. Low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and broccoli are good sources of calcium.
- Water instead of sugary juices or soda—Sodas, juices, and even milk can contain large amounts of sugar that can cause dental decay. Limit the amount of sugary drinks a child consumes and get your child in the habit of primarily drinking water
Families need to establish regular snack and meal times to help reduce all-day sugar exposure on the teeth. This goes for adults, teens, and little kids. And most of all, do not send your babies to bed with juice or milk.
Hard fruits and vegetables, beyond being very good for your health, can also help to clean and whiten teeth.
Fruits and vegetables such as celery, carrots, apples, and pears can help remove surface stains and bacteria from teeth through a scouring action as they are chewed.
Apples, which have been called “nature’s toothbrush,” are a good snack or lunch choice because of the fibrous texture. Although not a substitute for brushing and flossing, eating an apple can help clean your teeth until you can brush them properly. Chewing carrots, celery and other fibrous and hard vegetables stimulates the gums.
Strong, healthy gums are important for maintaining healthy teeth. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, chard, collard greens, endive, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, asparagus, spinach and watercress provide your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain and improve oral health.
Some fruits contain malic acid, a chemical contained in many commercial whitening products that aid in removing surface stains from teeth. While eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is always a good thing, these are not comprehensive whitening solutions. They can, however, give your teeth a quick scouring to remove stains when brushing is not possible.
You will, of course, also get the benefit of vitamins and minerals.
Always monitor your child when they are brushing their teeth or flossing. Adults are supposed to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once or twice each day – and so are kids. We tell our parents that oral care is something they actually need to help manage until your child is about seven or eight years old. It is critical, however, for kids from a young age, to learn to, practice, and understand the importance of brushing their teeth properly and often. In fact, the daily routine of brushing one’s teeth is essential to overall health in general and must be instilled in children at a young age, even if this is difficult to achieve. And even your teens may need regular (annoying) reminders to brush and floss.
Here are a few tips to motivate your children to brush their teeth:
- Begin Early: Toddlers who are accustomed to having their teeth cleaned tend to be more responsive to learning how to brush their teeth themselves.
- Brush Your Teeth Together: Make teeth brushing a family activity. Young children love to imitate their parents and an effective way to encourage children to practice oral hygiene is to make the activity of teeth brushing an entire family ordeal.
- Let Your Child Pick A Toothbrush: Allowing a child to pick his or her own toothbrush helps make the process of learning how to take care of their teeth fun!
- Choose Child-Friendly Toothpaste: A multitude of kid-friendly toothpaste exist in a large assortment of colors and flavors. These fun and child tailored flavors tend to make brushing a more enjoyable task.
- Use Music: Music can aid in passing the time it takes to complete oral hygiene tasks.
The benefits of baking soda are large.
The pH of our mouths plays a big role in determining what populations of bacteria flourish in our mouths. It’s generally recognized that the lower (more acidic) the pH in the mouth, the greater the risk of tooth decay.
Using baking soda can help in supporting a more alkaline oral pH. Plenty of research shows that baking soda really can help in lowering the populations of bad bugs in the mouth. Baking soda is an effective support tool to reduce bad pathogens.
Lemon and baking soda are two natural and low cost items to help whiten your teeth. These two items are excellent cleaning solutions for their deodorizing and stain removing properties.
This same chemical reaction is useful for removing stains from enamel.
To apply to teeth, mix a small amount of baking soda with lemon juice and brush it on the teeth. Allow the solution of sit for a minute before brushing and rinsing it off of the teeth. Lemon juice is highly acidic and the same stain removing powers also damage enamel.
Only perform this whitening treatment once a week on older children to prevent the acidity of the lemon juice from damaging the enamel.
An important recommendation from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday, but some parents wait until their kids are much older. When you get them in early, we can educate you and your kids about proper home care and diet, and their visits are likely to be less stressful in the future. At first, you only need to wipe your baby’s teeth off with a wet cloth after he eats or drinks. You can “graduate” to a toothbrush, and as soon as your child has teeth that are touching, start flossing. Pediatric dentists see many children with cavities due to falling asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Dentists encourage mothers to stop on-demand nighttime breastfeeding after the child’s first teeth come through.
Teething – between 3 and 9 months, your infant’s baby teeth will begin to erupt. Teething may make your child irritable or fussy and may cause restlessness, drooling or loss of appetite.
Pacifiers – sucking is a normal part of the development that is comforting to children well into their first years of life. In fact, sucking often brings comfort even after a child no longer needs to get nourishment from a breast or bottle.
Baby bottle tooth decay – this occurs when acid formed by bacteria on the teeth, from sugars in foods and beverages, damages the tooth enamel. This causes demineralization and eventually can lead to a cavity.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 40 percent of children have decayed by the time they reach kindergarten.
Have you ever wondered why the American Dental Association and your dentist recommend you come back every six months? It’s because regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. And in between those examinations, it’s important that you work to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Start by visiting your dentist regularly. Cavities are one of the biggest problems for our children, and most of the time, they’re preventable. While six months is the “standard” time between dental visits, if you or your children could be at higher risk for cavities, you might need to visit us more often. During your check-up appointment, your dentist or dental hygienist will likely evaluate the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination and examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.
Next, your dentist assesses the state of your teeth and gums by:
- Examining the gums
- Looking for signs of gum disease
- Checking for loose teeth
- Looking at the tissues inside of your mouth
- Examining your tongue
- Checking your bite
- Looking for visual evidence of tooth decay
- Checking for broken teeth
- Checking for damaged fillings
- Looking for changes in the gums covering teeth
- Evaluating any dental appliance you have
- Checking the contact between your teeth
- Taking X-rays
Do not be surprised if your dentist also examines your face, bite, saliva and movement of your lower jaw joints. Your dentist or dental hygienist will then clean your teeth.