Get the Family into a Healthy Routine this Year

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Most people are striving for good physical and mental health, and with the new year upon us, many are taking this time to reevaluate their routine to look and feel better. Committing to good oral health care is the perfect New Year’s resolution for young and old because it is an essential part of becoming a healthy person. Our mouths are the gateway to our health, and bad breath, cavities and other issues make it apparent that we are not taking good care of ourselves. The California Dental Association urges people young and old to practice good hygiene this year.

Make it a family effort
Resolutions and goals are always easier when you have someone to share them with! Why not make it a goal for the entire family to get better about their oral health? Parents should encourage their children to be brushing their teeth for two minutes, two times a day, along with flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash if children are old enough. If parents begin encouraging these practices when kids are young, it’s much more likely that the practice will just become a natural part of their daily routine. Maintaining such routines will help combat bad breathand other diseases like gum disease later in life. The CDA suggests replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles show signs of wear because worn-out brushes aren’t able to properly clean the teeth and mouth of food particles.

“Removing plaque from the mouth keeps teeth and gums healthy, and the best way to do that is by brushing and flossing,” CDA President Lindsey Robinson, a pediatric dentist, said. “It’s important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste as fluoride reduces bacteria levels in the mouth. It also remineralizes tooth surfaces to make them stronger.”

Change your diet
The food and beverages you are consuming may be causing bad breath and wreaking havoc on your mouth. Eating starchy and sugary foods can cause bacteria to thrive in the back of the mouth – which is why we always hear how important it is to brush our tongues – and not drinking enough water causes that bacteria to sit on the tongue and cause us to have bad breath. Limiting your intake of soda and fruit juices can also help maintain good oral health. Just like our bodies, eating a substantial amount of fruits and vegetables is great for our mouths! These foods help get rid of bacteria in the mouth and offer nutrients to help promote good health.

Prevent future illnesses
Having good health care is actually a key in preventing illnesses like diabetes. Gum disease and diabetes are linked to one another, and according to the New York Times, poor gum health is also linked to heart disease, stroke and pregnancy problems. Researchers believe this is the case because people who do not practice good oral health are not eliminating the bacteria in the mouth, which is the first place it is seen. Getting to the infection or bacteria before it reaches other parts of the body is key, and can be done with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and mouthwash.
The CDA recommends that parents should help their children with brushing and flossing until they master the skills which is typically around age 8. Also encouraging them to drink plenty of water and eating a balanced diet will help them keep healthy teeth and gums.

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