The Key to Good Oral Health

Tooth decay is almost entirely preventable. Use these tips to ensure you and your child avoid cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

  • Brush after eating or at least twice a day – especially before bedtime.
  • Use only a pea-size dab of toothpaste.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Choose a toothpaste flavor that you or your child likes.
  • Use an egg timer to time the length of your brushing, 2-3 minutes, or if listening to music, brush till the end of a song.
  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Rinse your toothbrush well after each use and allow it to air dry.
  • You can even brush or floss while in the tub or shower, while watching TV, or while reading.
  • Floss every day.
  • Flossing cleans the tooth surfaces that you can not reach with a toothbrush.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you have been ill.
  • Do not share toothbrushes – each person in your family must have their own brush.

Learn About Tooth Decay

Take Care of Your Own Oral Health

The first steps to ensuring your child has good oral health start with taking care of your own oral health.

Start early. It is important to maintain good oral health before, during and after pregnancy. Research increasingly reports a possible connection between periodontal disease and pre-term low birth weight. Practice good oral health habits daily and visit your dentist regularly.

  • Keep your own mouth healthy. Cavity causing bacteria in saliva can be passed from parent or caregiver to a child.
  • Brush and floss daily. Brush 2 – 3 minutes
  • Use fluoride. Toothpastes, mouthwash and water should contain fluoride. Check labels for more information.
  • Choose healthy, nutritious food. Avoid sugary snacks beverages, and soda pop.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and oral cancer exam. Regular dental care is particularly important for those with diabetes. (more about oral health and diabetes: Mayo Clinic | National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research). Diabetes can lead to an increased risk of oral health problems such as gum disease.
  • Use gum, mints, or oral health products containing xylitol. Xylitol helps prevent decay.
  • Avoid using tobacco products. Spit tobacco use is related to oral cancers, gum disease, and leukoplakia. Only one-half of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.