When you think about health, it’s very easy to get carried away with dieting, exercise and keeping bugs and bacteria at bay. Sadly, dental health often comes far down the list of priorities. You may not assume that it’s all that important to keep your smile in check, but research shows that poor oral health can have a detrimental impact on general health. If you’re a mom, here are some simple tips that will benefit both you and your kids.
Find the right dentist and book a dental check
According to the Oral Health Foundation, regular routine dental checks can reduce your risk of developing gum disease and decay by up to 60 percent. If it’s been a while since you took your children to the dentist or you can’t remember the last time you sat in a dental chair, it’s time to pick up the phone and book an appointment.
If you’re on the hunt for a new dentist, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. If you have specific requirements, for example, you’re looking for a particular treatment or service, or you have a child with a disability, search for a pediatric dentist who has experience in providing this treatment or working with children who have physical disabilities or learning difficulties. You can meet up with your dentist beforehand, take a look around the office and get to know the team. If your child is anxious about going to the dentist, talk them through what is going to happen and read books or listen to stories about going to the dentist so that they have an idea of what to expect and they understand that this isn’t something to be scared of.
Your diet is really important when it comes to your oral health. Try and encourage healthy eating habits from an early age and pay attention to sugar intake. Many people are aware that foods like candy and fizzy drinks are laden with sugar, but some products that are marketed for children as healthy alternatives can also contain a lot of sugar. Examples include shop-bought smoothies and juices and flavored yogurts. Calcium is essential for healthy, strong bones and teeth, so aim to hit your recommended intake every day. For adults, this is 1,000 mg per day. For children aged between 1 and 3, the RDA is 700 mg, and this increases to 1,000 mg for kids aged 4-8 and 1,300 mg for children aged 9-18.
Good oral hygiene is the best weapon against caries and gum disease. Set a good example and brush twice a day, every day for two minutes. Supervise younger children and help them hold the brush and guide it around the mouth to achieve a thorough clean.
When you have kids, it’s very easy to focus on other aspects of health, and dental health can get neglected. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes a day and a couple of trips to the dentist every year to give you and your kids the best chance of enjoying healthy, bright smiles.