Orthodontics and Your Family Mouth Hygiene
Orthodontics does not just resolve cosmetic problems in our teeth but can be indispensable in our oral health. These are our tips for better family mouth hygiene.
Our teeth serve more purpose than just giving us that impeccable smile. They aid us in our speech, and because they are connected to our jaw, they give shape to our faces. This is why losing a number of teeth can make the face sink, making one look old.
On a more important note, it is also through our teeth that the digestive process starts, helping us break down the food we eat. As such, any abnormalities in them can affect our overall health.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the treatment of irregularities in the teeth. These may include problems with the bite due to jaw growth complications, missing or extra teeth, crowded and crooked growth of teeth.
Known as malocclusions or the misalignment of the teeth, these conditions can pose not just cosmetic, but health problems as well. They can deter the proper chewing of one’s food and can also cause excessive stress on the gum tissue and surrounding bones.
Such kinds of teeth may also be difficult to clean — they may lead to tooth decay, and eventually, gum disease. If you or a family member suffer from this condition, it is best to consult with an orthodontist or ask your family dentist to recommend the next steps.
Tips for a better family mouth hygiene
Monitoring our family’s mouth hygiene goes beyond scheduling trips to the dentist (or orthodontist in some cases). To make sure our teeth and our mouth are cared for on a daily basis, here are our tips:
- Start them young
It is important to teach your children proper dental care at a young age so it becomes ingrained in their habits to take care of their teeth. Research by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research concluded that 42% of children between the ages of 2 to 11 years suffered from dental caries (tooth decays) on their primary teeth.
Proper dental care should then start with the first teeth. Most dentists suggest wiping it with a clean, damp cloth. A very soft brush could also suffice until children reach about the age of 2 when they can try brushing their teeth on their own.
- Check your fluoride intake
In essence, fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities.
It may be a naturally occurring mineral, but taken in excess, can cause dental fluorosis, thyroid problems, and neurological problems. The International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has also linked it to the occurrence of acne and other skin problems, cardiovascular problems, and other reproductive system issues. On the contrary, too little fluoride will render you susceptible to tooth decay.
Most toothpaste brands already come with a certain level of fluoride. If you are looking for those that are proven safe and effective, the American Dental Association (ADA) issues its Seal of Acceptance on trusted brands. If however, you are opting for fluoride-free toothpaste, make sure that you are still able to receive a good amount of fluoride from other sources.
- Physically protect your teeth
Brushing and flossing are already given, but blocking blows to the teeth can also go a long way. If you or your loved ones are practicing contact sports, or unsupervised recreational activities (such as skateboarding and rollerblading), make sure that you are still mindful of your teeth.
- Eat healthy foods
Sugary food and drinks cause bacteria in our teeth to produce more acids that in turn, erode the enamel of the teeth. By eating a well-balanced diet, we provide ourselves with nutrients for healthy gums and teeth. It has also been found that omega-3 fats can reduce the risk of gum disease because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Book that appointment
We all have a unique set of teeth, and there is no substitute for expert help. A family dentist or orthodontist can still give the best care and advice when it comes to oral health.