Hygiene Tips

Practice Good Dental Health for Lifelong Health

hygieneA great dental routine may add years to your life. In fact, recent research suggests ongoing gum inflammation is associated with an increased risk for heart disease and other serious conditions.

The point: Take charge of your dental health by following a complete dental care plan. Here are steps to get your started with a healthy dental care regimen:

Talk to your dentist (and your doctor) about your dental health — especially if you have gum disease. These providers can give you important information on managing what may be a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, complications from pregnancy or other problems.

Practice daily oral hygiene. For clean teeth and gums, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests:

  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.. Brushing removes plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Flossing daily. Flossing picks up the leftover plaque and food particles your toothbrush can't reach.
  • Using a fluoride mouthrinse. This may help you avoid or reduce tooth decay more than using fluoride toothpaste alone.

See your dentist every six months for a checkup and a professional cleaning. At your visit, talk about the types of dental care and oral hygiene products that are right for you. Finding an EmblemHealth network dentist is always a call or click away.

Replace your toothbrush every few months. The ADA suggests using soft bristle toothbrushes, which are gentler on the gums and teeth.

Eat a balanced diet. Sugars in many foods eat away at enamel (the hard surface of teeth). Know too that even healthy foods — fruits, vegetables, milk and bread — contain sugar. So brush and floss no matter what you eat.

Create a Dental Routine for Your Children

It's never too soon (or too late) to start a dental routine. The ADA recommends that children have their first dental exam when the first tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday. For children, the ADA also suggests:

  • Brush with a little water when a child's first tooth shows. By age 2, you should begin regular brushing with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. By age 6 or 7, most children are ready to brush on their own.
  • Once children have two teeth that are touching, according to the ADA, parents should begin flossing their children's teeth. According to the ADA, children ages 6 and younger should not use mouth rinse, to avoid swallowing it.

Remember, good dental health is priceless. If you take good care of them, your teeth can last a lifetime. Treat them well and they'll treat you better!