Posts for: July, 2014
Does every day bring fresh oral hygiene battles between you and your kids? Do they drag their feet when asked to brush and floss? Are they less than thrilled about pending dental exams?
You're not alone. Many kids aren't too excited about caring for their teeth. But they won't always stay that way. And with a careful approach, you can help coax your young ones into proper dental care. Getting them to brush, floss, eat healthy, and cooperate at the dentist's isn't an impossibility. And you're not alone in helping them change their attitudes. If you ever have questions about what you can be doing to help your kids build healthy teeth (and enjoy the process), don't hesitate to contact our Elkhart Dental Center team.
Patient Education Makes a Difference - Especially for Kids
You're far more likely to do something when you understand the reasoning behind it. Kids don't always love doing as they're told. So it's important to let them know why they should be brushing than flossing, rather than just commanding it.
Between your own conversations and in-office exams, there are plenty of opportunities to teach your kids about plaque and decay. No matter the teaching method you choose, make sure you approaach the conversation in an open, conversational way. If you posit the problem with plaque as something your kids can actively fight, rather than a fate to which they're doomed, they'll get more interested in doing their part.
Talk about why certain foods (like sweets) lead to the formation of plaque, whereas others (vegetables, dairy) fight the bacteria present in the mouth. If your kids are junk food heads, that can change. While the first steps will be a little rocky, you can alter their eating habits. Take heart: a recent survey of schools adopting healthier lunches found that, while children initially complained, they accepted the healthier diet by the end of the school year. Change your weekly grocery list to include more of the healthy stuff, and fewer sweet treats. There will be initial complaining, but your kids will be thrilled if their next exams proclaim them cavity-free.
Helping Children Make Oral Health a Priority
Brushing and flossing can be much more fun than your kids anticipate. Try doing one of the following to get them better engaged with the cleaning process:
- Family hygiene - You all need to brush and floss - why not do it together? It will probably be tricky to coordinate in the mornings, but at night it's simpler to clean your teeth as a group. This way, you can make sure your kids are cleaning their teeth, check on their techniques and the length of time they brush, and also do a little something extra as a family.
- Brushing and flossing chart - Set up a brushing and flossing chart in the bathroom so that everyone (parents included) can check off their daily cleaning. You can hold each other accountable for great brushing and flossing.
- Cavity-free incentives - Come up with some kind of small treat for a cavity-free kid (besides the knowledge that they don't have fillings in their futures).
- Group dental exams - Schedule your kids' exams alongside your own. This way, they'll see that you care about oral health, and they'll feel more comfortable in the office being with you.
Ready to schedule that next family exam? Get in touch with our Elkhart office. We'll be happy to see you all in the office, and we'll provide some helpful tips and tricks for your kids to get more involved in their oral health.
Elkhart Family Dentist | Elkhart Family Dentistry | Elkhart Pediatric Dentist
We're always looking for ways to improve ourselves. Trouble is, the path toward betterment is often difficult. It’s tough to start up an exercise regimen, get a new degree, or find a more satisfying career. Of course, you should still strive for fulfillment in these areas – but most people are less likely to do so because of the work involved.
When it comes to your teeth, there's some better news: it's not so tricky to build and preserve excellent oral health. The secret is to let every area of your life inform that health. With a few adjustments, you can help your diet, lifestyle, and daily choices add up to a stronger, more gratifying smile.
Boosting Your Oral Hygiene
We’ll start this list off with the most obvious aspect of preventive dentistry: brushing and flossing. But while you may already be cleaning twice a day, you may not be doing so in the best possible way. Here’s how to boost your hygiene and make it really count:
- Read up on brushing and flossing techniques – We learn how to brush and floss as kids, and may not revisit the proper techniques again. As the years go by, we can get a little sloppy. Studying oral hygiene not sound exciting, but it can help you brush and floss thoroughly. If you clean your teeth efficiently, you can even save time on your cleaning each day. Less time in the bathroom means more time for relaxation!
- Make sure your dental products are the right ones for your mouth – There are so many dental products on the market. There’s sure to be one that clicks with your needs. Whether it’s due to flavor, ease of use, or add-ons, there is toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and mouthwash that you will love out there. Find it to get more engaged with your cleaning.
- Check in with Dr. Lee – Regular exams are the best way to prevent problems. Visit Elkhart Dental Center every six months so that Dr. Lee can monitor for cavities and gum disease.
A Tooth-Healthy Diet
You know that sugar is the top enemy in the fight against cavities. But do you know how much sugar is present in the foods you regularly eat? Check the nutrition information of your favorite foods to make sure they’re wise choices.
Snacks are the most dangerous foods you eat, because they’re not accompanied by a full meal (when eating a meal, saliva flow and beverages help wash away disease-causing food particles). When snacking, try to eat one of the following:
- Raw vegetables
- Raw fruit (non-citrus, which can be too acidic)
- Dairy (unsweetened yogurt, milk, and cheese)
- Lean protein (chicken or fish)
And, as always, so NO to soda!
When Tooth Protection is the Right Idea
Your teeth aren’t always strong enough to take care of themselves. Sometimes, they need a little extra protection. Whether you routinely grind your teeth at night, or engage in contact sports, a mouth guard is a great idea. A custom guard fits snugly, and preserves your enamel and dental work. Physical trauma can cause serious damage to teeth, both long- and short-term.
How Your Dental Care Changes Over Time
As you age, your body changes. You need to tailor your personal care to make sure it addresses pressing needs. The mouth is no different, and what once kept it healthy may not always be the most effective practice.
Keep up with the shifting landscape of oral health by scheduling regular exams. You’ll learn about what you should be doing in the moment, and you’ll gain peace of mind from learning there aren’t any problems taking hold.