Top Oral Health Tips for Childhood, Teenage Years, Adulthood, Elderly People
Professor Mike Morgan, Principal Oral Health, Advisor at Dental Health Services Victoria : http://www.dhsv.org.au , gives his top tips for good oral health for all ages
The biggest oral health risk for children is tooth decay, but it can be prevented with good eating and brushing habits.
- Only put water, milk or formula in baby bottles - and never put children to bed with a bottle.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks, including fruit juice and cordial.
- Help children to brush their teeth properly up until the age of 6 or 7 when they can start doing it themselves.
- From the time children’s teeth first appear (about 6 months) until around 17 months, clean teeth without toothpaste with a soft child-sized toothbrush.
- For children aged 18 months to 6 years, brush teeth twice a day with toothpaste containing 0.4-0.55 mg/g of fluoride. U se a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a childsized soft toothbrush - encourage children to spit out, not swallow, and not rinse.
- Children aged 6 and over should brush their teeth at least twice a day with a standard fluoride toothpaste containing 1mg/g fluoride.
- Make sure kids drink plenty of fluoridated water, especially after eating treats.
Adolescents and young adults are at risk of falling into poor eating habits as they become more independent. They are also at greater risk of tooth damage through accidents and sports injuries.
- Avoid fizzy and sports drinks - the acid in these can damage tooth enamel.
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water each day.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sport.
- Don’t miss your dental appointments, even if your teeth and gums feel fine.
As we get older, if we eat well and clean our teeth properly, tooth decay is less of a problem for us. But gum disease, also known as periodontitis, becomes more common after the age of 40.
- Maintain healthy gums by brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Don’t smoke – this increases the risk of gum disease.
- Bleeding gums can be a sign of early disease. This can be cured with good cleaning - be sure to mention any gum bleeding or swelling to your dental care provider.
- Be careful if you choose to have your teeth whitened or bleached – this can weaken tooth enamel.
It’s important not to forget about our oral health as we get older, even though we might have other health issues to deal with.
- Make sure teeth are cleaned properly morning and night.
- Using an electric toothbrush can make brushing easier, especially for people with arthritis.
- Remove dentures at night and clean daily.
- Remember that a healthy mouth can help reduce the risk of other health problems, including heart disease.
Whatever your age
Good eating, drinking and brushing habits will help keep your mouth - and the rest of your body – healthy.
- Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water.
Mike is a dentist and holds the Colgate Chair of Population Oral Health at The University of Melbourne.
For more information:
- British Dental Health Foundation : http://www.dentalhealth.org.uk/
- ADA: American Dental Association : http://www.ada.org/365.aspx
- Health Canada : http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/oral-bucco/index-eng.php
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