Dental health is important right from the start.
Dental decay remains the most prevalent chronic (and irreversible) disease in New Zealand. As the mouth is the gateway to the body it is important to understand the consequences poor oral health can have on the body as a whole. Recent studies have alerted us to the links between gum disease and heart disease. What is clear is that prevention is the key, and encouraging excellent oral health habits from a young age will greatly influence future wellbeing.
1/. Did you know babies can start to develop caries (tooth decay) as early as 6 months of age and onward? Sometimes parents do things they don’t realise can be damaging. For example have you ever dipped your baby’s pacifier in honey or juice as a treat? Dipping a pacifier in honey or juice may seem sweet, but it increases the baby’s risk of caries.
2/. The 1st dentist visit should be when your baby is 12 months old and should go for a check-up every 6 months after that unless the dentist tells you otherwise.
3/. Did you know that during a pregnancy your chances of developing gum disease is extremely high? During pregnancy a woman’s changing level of hormones can cause gums to become super sensitive, increasing their chance of gum disease. When the mother has gum disease it is a risk for the baby. Research suggests a link between pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and gum disease. Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums; the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labour.
4/. During pregnancy women should take special care in cleaning their teeth and try to reduce their sugar intake to prevent plaque build up and bacteria causing gum disease. A good product to help is Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural (from the hardwood treets), non-fermentable sugar substitute that helps restore a proper pH balance to the mouth. A properly balanced pH creates an inhospitable environment for destructive bacteria. Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol (no that doesn’t mean there’s alcohol in it) and it looks, feels and tastes just like sugar. Most mouth bacteria cannot make use of such sugars which is why xylitol can prevent dental caries. Xylitol is also low GI as it is a 7 on the glycemic index, sugar is 68 – a great treat for diabetics.
5/. As a parent it is important to encourage kids to take care of their teeth. A good way to do this is to get them into a daily routine. Start from when their very first tooth appears brushing twice a day. Toddlers may not be so willing to brush their teeth. For this we recommend using some sort of reward system as encouragement. At SmileStore we have a range of kid’s products that would get children excited about oral health. The Caredent Sparkle toothbrush comes with a colourful mini egg-timer so kids know when their 2 minutes of brushing is up. We also have bubblegum flavoured toothpaste which is perfect for younger kids who hate the taste of normal toothpaste.
6/. Teenagers usually have different problems with oral health. We have special orthodontic products at SmileStore that can be really helpful for teens with braces. We have an orthodontics brush to help clean the hard to reach areas that are in between and around the braces. We have orthowax to cover sharp or hard parts of the braces that are irritating and cutting the soft tissue the mouth. Our best product for teens with braces is the Waterpik Water Flosser. Using a water flosser effectively cleans the areas around and between the braces. It is far more effective and easier to use than string floss.