Oral health can have a large influence on overall health. Gum disease, for example, has been linked with many health conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Because of this, it’s important for your children to learn the importance of preventive dentistry at an early age – as is making sure that you’re practicing good oral hygiene yourself! June is Oral Health Awareness Month, and the perfect way to celebrate is to educate yourself and your family on visiting your dentist in Reston and other forms of preventive dental care.
HOW DOES VISITING YOUR DENTIST PROMOTE ORAL HEALTH?
Your twice-a-year dental appointments focus on preventive care. This means cleaning the mouth of plaque and tartar that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease; it also helps to identify these conditions in their earliest stages when they can be more easily treated.
Seeing a dentist early in life is especially important for children. You may be surprised to learn that the American Dental Association recommends that a baby has its first dental appointment no later than its first birthday after its first set of teeth erupts. Even though these teeth are temporary, they can affect the development of your child’s permanent teeth if they become infected or fall out too early; hence, it’s important to ensure your family’s teeth are well-cared for no matter the age.
WHEN SHOULD I MAKE A DENTAL APPOINTMENT?
If there are minor pains in your mouth, you might think they’re no big deal. In fact, they can often be a warning sign of a much more serious problem. A toothache can signal that decay has reached the point of an infection. Bleeding gums are usually a symptom of gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. Sores could potentially be a sign of a larger systemic health problem. By making an appointment as quickly as possible instead of ignoring the symptoms, it makes it more likely that treatment will be successful.
HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY’S ORAL HEALTH AT HOME?
You probably know the basics: brush twice a day, floss once. Your dentist can give you advice on how you can improve your oral hygiene routine, such as identifying areas where you haven’t brushed enough. They can also educate you on helping your kids take care of their mouths, including the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use and ways to encourage brushing; they may also advise you on what types of foods can be detrimental to oral health and how to limit them.
Above all, one of the most important things to learn about oral health care is that it’s a full-time job. Be aware of changes in your mouth and have your dentist’s phone number ready in case you need to make an emergency appointment. By being vigilant in protecting your teeth, you’ll not only improve your own oral health, but you’ll also help ensure that your little ones learn the right habits.