Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Oral Hygiene for All Ages: 5 Tips for the Whole Family

Teaching kids about dental health early on in life will help them maintain their sparkling smiles throughout their lives. Many adults often fall behind when it comes to proper oral hygiene and, as a result, suffer from health conditions like periodontal disease and tooth decay. 

Kids are just as prone to dental problems as adults. Many elementary-aged children already have cavities; a study by the CDC revealed that 37 percent of kids age 2-8 already experienced cavities in their primary teeth. 

Protect your whole family’s health and teeth while improving your own by following these five family dental hygiene tips.

Learn the Basics of Proper Brushing

How long are you supposed to brush your teeth? Many people fall short under the recommended two minutes. The American Dental Association suggests brushing twice daily for at least two minutes each session. Babies should have their teeth brushed when they appear, which is usually around 6-10 months of age. Be sure to consult with your dentist about your growing baby’s teeth and the proper ways to care for them.

Show your kids how it’s done by following the ideal tooth brushing technique. Remember to place the brush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle and use short, back-and-forth motions. 

Use the Right Toothpaste

At age 3, children can use a pea-sized amount of any standard fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen your teeth’s protective outer layer, the enamel, and helps prevents cavities. You can buy kid-friendly toothpaste for babies and young children to help encourage good dental health practices early in life. Toothpastes like this are fluoride free and won’t cause them harm if it is swallowed.

You, and older members of your family, should only purchase toothpaste that boasts the American Dental Association seal of approval. Make sure you also consider your teeth’s sensitivity and your oral hygiene; buy the right products for your needs, whether it’s cavity prevention or anti-gingivitis. Your dentist can give you recommendations for your specific conditions during your regular dental appointments.

Find a Good Dentist

Choose a family dentist that makes dental care fun! Many kids are afraid of the dentist because it’s a foreign experience. A good family dentist will have a kid-friendly office and walk parents and little patients through every procedure step-by-step to help soothe nerves. Children should have their first dental appointment no later than age 1 or 2. 

Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods

You want to eat healthy meals that are rich in teeth-strengthening vitamins and minerals like calcium. Make sure you and your kids get two to four daily servings of calcium through milk, cheese or other dairy products. Check with your doctor about how much calcium the babies, children and adults in your family should be getting daily. 

Practice Age-Appropriate Care

The whole family has unique dental needs through various stages of life. Children should be taken to the dentist for regular checkups, cleanings, and preventative dental care. Since bigger dental issues are more common as age progresses, dental appointments are just as important for adults as children. Adults should practice preventative care and attend regular cleanings and checkups. As we get older, dentures may become part of our reality. Those with dentures should make sure that they are the right fit and don’t cause any discomfort.

Understanding the role of dental hygiene in personal health makes a huge difference in your overall health. Proper care and attention to dental hygiene can help you and your family flourish through every phase of life.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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