3 Dental Hygiene Tips for You and Your Child


 

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For a lot of young children, dental hygiene is not a concern. They don’t really have the foresight necessary to think of the importance of their oral health and what their teeth could look like in 10, 15, 20 years. Twenty percent of adolescents between the age of 12 and 19 have untreated decay, and gum disease affects more than three-quarters of the population of the United States. Here are some facts and tips for caring for your child’s (and your) dental hygiene.
First appointment: Within about six months of your child’s first tooth appearing, it’s time to schedule a visit to the dentist. If the first tooth hasn’t appeared by your child’s first birthday, it’s wise to schedule an appointment anyway.
Flossing: Everybody knows to brush their teeth, but not everybody knows that brushing cleans only around 70% of your teeth. Flossing is integral in getting the other 30% clean. But what age should your child start flossing? Honestly, as soon as possible. Once your child has two teeth that touch, that’s when it’s time to begin flossing. Floss picks are, in most cases, easier to use than standard flossers, particularly for people that have limited control of their hands and fingers. However, their shape may make it difficult to reach closer to the gums. No matter what you use, be sure to floss, as it’s incredibly important in tooth and gum health.
Teeth grinding: Bruxism is defined as habitual teeth grinding. About 15% of children and 10% of adults grind their teeth while they sleep. This could cause a lot of damage to your teeth, as nighttime grinding is equal to about 300 pounds of force on your teeth. Some children grow out of this habit eventually, but not all. Dentists can make a bite guard for teeth grinding to help prevent damage.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath, cavities, and several forms of gum disease. Close to half of all American adults have some kind of periodontal disease, and one-fourth of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated cavities. It’s best to get your child started on the road to good dental health early, because by the time they realize the importance for themselves it may be too late.

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