Start good oral health habits early

When it comes to teaching your kids to clean their teeth, you should start earlier than you probably think.

Good oral health is best learned young. When you smile, it says a lot about your overall wellness. Unfortunately, many people don’t take proper care of their mouth. In fact, gum disease – which is often caused by improper dental habits at home – is one of the most common oral health problems among Canadians. It begins with slight inflammation of the gum tissue and can lead to bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth loss. 

Here’s why it’s important to pay more attention to your oral health – including your teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. Here are some things to keep in mind with your child, and the entire family.

Your oral health affects your overall health

  • Good oral health can help prevent bad breath and tooth decay, but an unhealthy mouth can also increase the risk of serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
  • “Research has proven the relationship between periodontal disease and general health,” says Dr. Liran Levin, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, and head of the Periodontology division. “If you suffer from periodontal disease, the bacteria in your gums enters the bloodstream, and that can affect your overall health. Moreover, the constant inflammation in your mouth might have a dangerous effect on your overall wellbeing.”
  • Bacteria spreading throughout your body can result in an increased risk for heart attacks or strokes.
  • People with diabetes have a high risk of developing gum disease, but having a serious gum infection can make it more difficult for diabetics to control blood sugar levels.

No pain doesn’t always mean no problem – you could have issues without realizing it

  • In most cases, chronic gum disease is painless, so apart from minor discomfort and some swelling in the gums, you won’t always know when there’s a problem. That’s why regular check-ups are so important.
  • You probably aren’t flossing right, which can impact your teeth and gums long-term.
  • Don’t over think flossing, so long as it’s done correctly and regularly, it can be very effective. If flossing isn’t getting the job done, try using other tools such as interproximal brushes or dental toothpicks.
  • Consult your dentist or dental hygienist for the proper way to floss your teeth.

Your toothpaste matters – are you using the right type for you?

  • Once your child is ready for fluoride toothpastes, note that not all toothpastes are created equal – most fluoride toothpastes only protect our teeth and not our whole mouth. Look for a toothpaste like Colgate Total equipped with a new formula that provides protection against plaque, gingivitis, stains, tartar and cavities, as well as, sensitivity relief, instant neutralization of odours related to bad breath, and new flavours for longer-lasting freshness.

Oral diseases are completely preventable, but they can impact your whole body when left unchecked

  • Gum disease and cavities are totally avoidable if cleaning your teeth regularly and effectively. o “The moment you stop brushing and cleaning your teeth, bacteria start to accumulate, and if left alone, they become strong enough to cause damage,” explains Dr. Levin. “That’s why you have to mechanically remove plaque and bacteria at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, interproximal cleaning aid, and a fluoride-based toothpaste that targets whole mouth health.”