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Prevention is the essential key. Brush and floss daily and have two check-ups a year so you won't have to have a root canal. It hurts me to see people let their mouths go. Take time to floss once a day and brush twice."
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the authority on children's oral health, also announced this month the creation of their Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center.
The goal of the Center is to inform and advance research and policy analysis that will promote optimal oral health care for children. Through the AAPD, the Center will conduct research studies and policy analysis to further the understanding of practices which will improve oral health for all children. Upcoming work will focus on areas such as successful Medicaid dental reforms, effective oral health literacy efforts; the benefits of establishing a dental home by age one and the efficacy of expanded function dental assistant laws. The Center will assist federal and state policymakers in determining the best policies to positively improve the oral health status of children.
Pediatric Dentistry places special importance in preventing tooth decay. Studies show that poor oral health care in children can lead to impaired school performance and poor social relationships. Therefore, Pediatric Dentists give advice on how to make teeth strong the importance of developing healthy eating habits and other ways to prevent disease from occurring.
Additionally, Pediatric Dentists work toward the maintenance of primary teeth (baby teeth) until they are naturally lost. This is due to the importance they serve in permitting children to chew properly and therefore maintain good nutrition, their role in speech development, and the maintenance of space for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth.
The role of the Pediatric Dentist changes as children enter adolescence. Recognizing the growing importance of appearance and self-image in their patients, Pediatric Dentists work to ensure that adolescents' dental needs are met. Preventative dental health care is emphasized and when necessary information is provided to adolescents about subjects such as wisdom teeth, tobacco use, sealants and oral piercing.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, a person can take many steps to prevent and even reverse gum disease. These include:
- brushing the teeth properly
- choosing the right toothpaste
- flossing daily
- taking care when rinsing out the mouth
- using mouthwash
- having regular dental checkups
- stopping smoking
This article examines how these step can help keep the gums healthy. We also provide diet tips for healthy gums and explain how to spot the signs of gum disease.
7 ways to keep the gums healthy
Adopting the following habits will help a person care for their teeth and gums properly, which, in turn, will help prevent gum disease.
1. Brush the teeth properly
Brushing the teeth properly is key to having a healthy mouth and gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that people follow the guidelines below:
- Brush at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the bristles begin to fray.
- Brush the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move the toothbrush in short strokes.
- Press gently.
- Clean the insides of the front teeth by turning the brush vertically and making several short strokes along each tooth.
2. Choose the right toothpaste
The toothpaste aisle in most stores will contain many varieties of toothpaste, from whitening products to formulas containing baking soda.
When choosing toothpaste, a person should ensure that it contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval on the packaging.
3. Floss daily
Many people neglect daily flossing, but the ADA recognize this habit as an important part of oral care.
Flossing removes food and plaque from between the teeth and gums. If the food and plaque remain in these areas, this can lead to tartar, which is a hard buildup of bacteria that only a dentist can remove. Tartar can lead to gum disease.
4. Rinse your mouth out with care
Many people rinse their mouth out after brushing their teeth. However, oral hygiene practices should complement the effectiveness of fluoride products, such as toothpaste.
When a person washes their mouth out with water after brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, they wash away the fluoride.
Conversely, when a person rinses their mouth out after eating, they may rinse away food and bacteria that can lead to plaque and tartar.
5. Use mouthwash
According to the ADA, there are two types of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. Both are available over the counter.
A therapeutic mouthwash can help:
- prevent gum disease
- reduce the speed at which tartar builds up
- reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth
- remove food particles from the mouth
However, people should not use mouthwash as a replacement for brushing and flossing.
A person should look for the ADA seal. This seal indicates that the manufacturer has demonstrated enough evidence to support the product's safety and effectiveness.
The ADA state that children under the age of 6 years should not use mouthwash.
6. Get regular dental checkups
Dental checkups typically include a professional cleaning of the mouth. Professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth. Professional cleaning can also help eliminate the plaque that a person may have missed when brushing their teeth.
With regular visits, a dentist can help identify the early signs of gum disease and gingivitis, a condition in which the gums become inflamed. Early detection can help prevent more severe problems from occurring.
7. Stop smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking makes a person more susceptible to gum disease because it weakens the immune system.
The CDC recommend quitting smoking immediately to help reduce the risk of developing gum disease. The use of other tobacco products can also increase a person's risk.
Some of the foods that people should incorporate into their diet include:
- high-fiber fruits and vegetables, as these can help clean out the mouth
- black and green teas, which help reduce bacteria
- dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, as these foods help increase saliva production
- foods that contain fluoride, which include water and some poultry and seafood products
- sugar-free gum, as chewing it will increase saliva production
It is best to avoid the following foods and beverages:
- carbonated soft drinks that contain phosphoric and citric acids as well as sugar
- alcohol, as it can dry out the mouth
- sticky candies and sweets that stay in the mouth for a while
- starchy foods that can become stuck in the teeth
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Dr. Gaetano Gargiulo, group leader at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association in Germany, led the recent research, which reveals a potential way around this problem.
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