How to Prevent Plaque and Tartar Build-Up
As parents, we are concerned about making sure we teach our young children proper dental hygiene. However, it may surprise you to know that teenagers are at a high risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Over half of 15 year-olds-experience gingivitis, and up to 80 percent of 17 year-olds have the disease. Left untreated it can cause a myriad of issues. The good news is that it is preventable. As your children grow and begin taking care of their teeth, there are simple ways to remind them to prevent plaque and tartar build-up.
A University of Chicago study states that eating sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods four times a day, or over 60 grams of carbohydrates per day, significantly increases the risk of cavities. This is especially tricky around the holidays. However, healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque on your teeth. The plaque eats the sugar in the food and turns it into acids. These powerful acids are strong enough to begin to break down and chew through the enamel on your teeth. The acids continue to work for at least 20 minutes before being neutralized. This cycle is what causes cavities. Encourage your kids to eat more tooth-friendly snacks.
Back to Brushing Basics
It’s not that your teen forgets how to brush, it’s just that he or she is usually in a hurry and forgets the importance of proper brushing.
Here are some basic tooth brushing tips:
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline and brush use gentle circular motion.
- Make sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including outside, inside and chewing surfaces.
- Remember to brush the tongue to remove decay-causing bacteria, and keep breath fresh.
- Avoid brushing too hard which causes receding gums and tooth sensitivity.
- Make sure to brush for a least 2-3 minutes.
Flossing daily is the best defense against gum disease. It removes small food particles in hard to reach spaces in between teeth and along the gumline. Consequently, it removes plaque that brushing alone may have missed. Click here for some helpful flossing tips.
A Date with the Dentist
The American Dental Association recommends that your kiddos see the dentist every six months. During the appointment, she will examine your child’s teeth and gums and check for any other issues, too. You can expect the dentist will take X-rays, which may reveal tooth decay, abscesses, or impacted wisdom teeth. The dentist also will check your child’s bite and the way his teeth fit together. A hygienist will then follow up with cleaning and polish your child’s teeth. Lastly, your child will receive a fluoride treatment.
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to answer any questions and help with suggestions. You child’s dental health is our priority!