Wednesday 29 July 2020

Oral health for the whole family

Looking after our teeth and mouth is often either a quick moment as part of our daily routines or an afterthought. Many people do not brush their teeth for long enough, neglect flossing, ignore symptoms of gum disease and hate visiting the dentist. But oral health is very important and it is wise to take care of your teeth, gums and whole mouth.

Why is oral health important?

Good oral health and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease plus it can help keep your teeth as you get older. 

In fact oral health can be connected to your overall health - a healthy mouth is good for your body. On the flip side an unhealthy mouth can increase your risk of medical issues that affect the rest of your body. For example, gum disease could increase your risk of serious health issues such as a heart attack and stroke.

Not only is it important to maintain good oral health and hygiene but it is also vital to go to a dentist with any oral concerns as many conditions cause oral signs or symptoms.

How to keep your teeth, gums and mouth clean and healthy

The NHS recommends you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about 2 minutes to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

For good oral health it is important to brush all surfaces of your teeth - inside surfaces, outside surfaces and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. It is also important to clean your tongue too!

Whilst it may go against everything you were taught it is no longer recommended to rinse your mouth with water after brushing as it will wash away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste and reduce its preventative effects by limiting the protection it provides for the enamel on your teeth. 

Using a mouthwash with fluoride in it can help good oral health but don’t use a mouthwash straight after brushing teeth as like rinsing with water it will wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste. If you want to use a mouthwash do so at another time of day when not brushing your teeth.

Flossing can also be good for oral health as regular flossing can help reduce the risk of gum disease and bad breath as it removes plaque build up along the gum line and between teeth. For best results it is important to floss before brushing your teeth.

What toothbrush and toothpaste should you use?

Whether you use a manual or electric brush it is recommended that you use a brush with medium or soft bristles to prevent damage to your gums. A head with an arrangement of long and short bristles can help you brush your teeth thoroughly. It is recommended that you change your toothbrush/brush head every 3 to 4 months for optimum hygiene. As part of our commitment to ditch plastic we have swapped our toothbrushes for bamboo brushes.

When it comes to toothpaste it is vital to use a toothpaste with the correct concentration of fluoride. It needs to contain at least 1,350 parts per million fluoride (unless a higher concentration of fluoride is recommended by your dentist). I use Colgate Total Original toothpaste available from Morrisons and Waitrose for whole mouth health as it is perfect for helping achieve a healthy mouth as it is designed to take care of more than just teeth plus it leaves my mouth and teeth feeling fresh, clean and healthy. The antibacterial toothpaste pro-actively fights bacteria not just on teeth but also tongue, cheeks and gums for up to 12 hours. It is kind on my sensitive teeth whilst also dealing with plaque, gum problems, bad breath, staining, cavities, tartar and protecting enamel.

How to get kids to brush their teeth

Many parents can attest to the fact that getting kids to brush their teeth correctly for good oral health can be a battle. As it is important to start good oral health from a young age here are a few tips on how to get kids to brush their teeth efficiently and regularly and how to care for their oral health.
* Start young 
Get kids used to looking after their mouths and teeth by caring for oral health when they are babies. Use a toothbrush designed for babies and sing a silly tooth brushing song to make it a fun experience and help them get used to the routine or looking after teeth, gums and mouth.
* Be a good role model 
As kids learn from watching others, let kids see you take care of your oral health so that they learn that oral health is important. If you don’t look after your own teeth it will not encourage kids to care about theirs. To help them learn to brush all surfaces of teeth, brush your teeth with your kids and show them how to brush correctly. When they are learning to brush by themselves make it fun by suggesting you switch and they brush your teeth as you brush theirs.
* Tick tock 
To help them make sure they brush their teeth for 2 minutes, go classic and use a timer or use a toothbrushing timer app. Many toothbrushing apps have fun games that teach kids about the importance of oral health whilst they are having fun.

* Let them pick their toothbrush and toothpaste 
There are a vast array of toothbrushes on the market including character ones aimed at kids. By letting them choose their own toothbrush you are including them and giving them responsibility for their oral health. As my boys are little eco warriors they asked to switch to bamboo toothbrushes and love their Deeno-saurus brushes. Likewise let them be involved in the decision of what toothpaste they use. My kids love kids Colgate toothpaste that is available in natural fruit flavour for little teeth and mild mint magic toothpaste which they think is super cool and makes brushing teeth fun.
* Oral health and dental stories 
Introduce children to oral health and visiting dentists through enjoyable stories - brush, book and bed! Harry and the Dinosaurs say ‘Rahhh!’ helped my kids get used to the idea of a trip to the dentist and they loved How to brush your teeth with Snappy Croc.
* Trip to the dentist
Visit dentists from a young age to get them used to the dentists and the environment. Regular dentist checks are important as early intervention can prevent potentially serious problems. With all of our children they had their first trips to the dentist when they were babies with regular appointments since.

Do you have any tips on how to ensure good oral health and hygiene for the whole family?

* This product was gifted by Colgate, but all views are my own *

No comments:

Post a Comment