Did you know that every year, millions of Americans live with tooth decay, toothaches, and other oral diseases? What’s more important is knowing that these conditions are often preventable with good oral health habits.
June is Oral Health Month, and at TrueCare Dentistry, we’re coming alongside others in our field to promote good oral health habits and give back to the community.
One way of doing both is by educating our patients and others in the community about taking care of their teeth. We love knowing that we can contribute to improved oral health and overall well-being for our patients, their loved ones, and our own family and friends.
The History of Toothbrushing
Let’s take a look back to see how people first started cleaning their teeth. Inside History says way back in 5000 B.C., the ancient Egyptians used a powder they made from eggshells and ox hooves to clean their teeth.
“The Romans opted for sticks with frayed ends, while the Greeks used rough cloths. About 800 years ago, the Chinese began fashioning proto-toothbrushes by attaching coarse animal hairs to bamboo or ivory handles; during the Middle Ages, travelers brought these devices to Europe.”
– Inside History
Today, of course, you can walk down the toothbrush aisle at your local retail market and see dozens of toothbrushes of all colors, shapes, and sizes. You’ll find fun character brushes for the littlest ones in your home and eco-friendly bamboo-handled brushes for the environmentally conscious.
The American Dental Association recommends using a toothbrush that has soft bristles because it’s easier on your teeth and gums. It’s also important to replace it three to four times each year to be sure it’s in tip-top shape for taking care of your teeth.
Oh, and be sure you’re using it at least two times each day — two minutes each time.
Fun Dental Fact: The Oral Health Foundation says that when we spend two minutes twice a day brushing our teeth, we’ll spend a total of 82 days brushing our teeth in our lifetime.
Why Oral Health Matters
So, why is oral health so important? Besides the fact that we’re more confident when our teeth look good…! Well, we are, aren’t we? Good oral health definitely gives us confidence.
But it does so much more than that. Having a healthy mouth is also important for our overall health. The Mayo Clinic tells us that poor oral health has been linked to a number of health problems — cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, pneumonia, pregnancy complications, premature birth, and more.
The connection between our mouths and those diseases has to do with the many types of bacteria that live among our teeth and gums. Some of the bacteria are good for us, of course, but some are not so good. And good oral hygiene — including brushing and flossing regularly — helps to keep the bad bacteria in check.
How to Keep Your Teeth and Mouth Healthy
Since oral health is so important for your overall health, here are some tips for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste – We’ve already mentioned the importance of brushing for two minutes twice each day. Brushing consistently is a simple way you can keep bad bacteria in check and good bacteria in charge!
Floss your teeth at least once a day – Like brushing, flossing helps remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth, but it works to get in between your teeth and gums in those hard-to-reach places where bacteria love to hide.
Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water, which help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. They also contain vitamins and minerals that are good for your teeth and gums. Some good choices include apples, carrots, cauliflower, strawberries, and watermelon.
See your dentist for a check-up at least once a year – Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums for any signs of problems. They’ll also check your oral health history and may recommend that you get certain dental treatments, such as a teeth cleaning or dental sealant. If you have any concerns about your oral health, it’s important that you talk to your dentist.
Avoid sugary foods and drinks – Sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks can cause tooth decay. Did you know that cavities form when bacteria in your mouth eat the sugar in sweet foods and drinks and then produce acids? The acids can damage your tooth enamel — the hard outer layer of your teeth. If tooth decay isn’t treated, it can lead to something way worse… the total loss of a tooth!
To help protect your teeth, choose water, milk, or other healthy drinks. Then, of course, if you do eat or drink something sugary, brush your teeth afterward.
Fun Toothy Activities for the Kids
If you have little ones in your family and you want to start teaching them the value of good oral hygiene while they’re young, there’s no better time than Oral Health Month to do that.
- Here are some fun ways to help get your kids excited about taking care of their teeth:
- If they don’t already have these, give them a toothbrush and toothpaste of their own to keep in their bathroom.
- Make a fun chart to track how well they brush their teeth each day, and reward them with a small prize when they do a good job. You can download a brushing calendar the American Dental Association made just for this purpose.
- Get them excited about going to the dentist by taking them on a tour of the office or letting them watch a video about what to expect.
- Make a game out of brushing their teeth by timing them to see how long they can brush without stopping.
- Play “I Spy” with dental hygiene products – like a tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, and dental floss.
Whether your teeth are healthy or you have concerns about something you’ve seen in your mouth, the team at TrueCare Dentistry can help you keep oral health a priority, no matter your age.
Exceptional Is Not Uncommon
At TrueCare Dentistry, you will experience exceptional dental care that is focused on maximum patient comfort. We offer the best chair-side manner from check-in to check-out. Contact us for an appointment or to learn more: 919.859.1330