February is Dental Health Month, and Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is using this month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
Did you know that sugar can cause teeth to decay within 20 minutes after every meal or snack? Tooth decay occurs when sugar and bacteria in your mouth combine to create an acid, which can cause a cavity to form on a healthy tooth.
To keep your teeth healthy, dentists recommend that you brush the top, bottom, front and back surfaces of your teeth until they are clean. You should brush your teeth and tongue for 2 minutes, at least twice a day. Do NOT go to bed without brushing your teeth.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles in order to avoid damaging your gums, and change your toothbrush at least every 3 months and after any illness.
Dentists also recommend that you drink more water and use dental floss at least once per day. Flossing can remove food and plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Rinse your mouth after eating any food with sugar. Consider using mouthwash because it reduces acid in your mouth and cleans hard-to-reach spaces.
People also should avoid tobacco products. Did you know that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers?
Additionally, limit the amount of alcohol you consume as well as sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year.
Fluoride is vital to healthy teeth and protects against cavities. Children ages 6 and younger need a daily supplement of fluoride, which often can be found in toothpaste.
Infants require special care when it comes to healthy mouths. Parents are encouraged to clean their baby’s gums with a soft, clean, damp washcloth after every feeding. Do not put juice, soda or other sweet drinks in a baby’s bottle or sippy cup.
In addition, parents should start brushing as soon as their child’s first tooth comes in with a small, soft toothbrush. Infants also should see a dentist by their first birthday.