It's soon to be summertime across Nebraska. Your kids are out of school, and you may have family vacations planned. Don't forget to fit in dental checkups for your family, from youngest to eldest. If you are due for a cleaning, the summertime may open up your schedule. Below, we look at some of the ways you can take charge of your family's dental health.
Tooth decay is quite common in the U.S., adults and children alike. According to a Today report from 2015:
- Roughly 91 percent of U.S. adults age 21-64 had cavities in the years 2011-2012
- By the age of 65, 96 percent of U.S. adults have tooth decay
- About 42 percent of children age 2-11 had tooth decay
Cavities are caused when the bacteria in your mouth react with sugar and starches. As they do so, they produce acid that demineralizes tooth enamel, eventually forming the pit we call a cavity. Some people are more likely to develop cavities because of a genetic inheritance. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent decay:
- Brush, 2-3 times per day
- Floss once every day
- Reduce or eliminate soda, fruit juice and other sugared beverages
- Drink water
- Visit the dentist for checkups
With the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, the summer is a great time to introduce your family to healthy alternatives to sugary treats. Cubed watermelon, frozen grapes, grilled corn – these are a few ways to incorporate healthy snacks.
Prevent Gum Disease and Gum Inflammation
Like cavities, gum disease is not uncommon. It tends to affect more adults than children. Millions of American adults have the disease, according to the CDC. By practicing the same dental hygiene routine we outlined in the section above, you can prevent gum disease. Flossing is especially important because it removes trapped food and plaque stuck in the gums between your teeth.
Break Bad Habits that Threaten Teeth
This summer, commit to breaking these habits:
- Crunching on ice cubes
- Tearing packages open with your teeth
- Clenching or grinding
- Frequent snacking throughout the day
You probably want your family's smiles to stay healthy and strong. While our teeth are very durable, they are not immune from cracking, breaking, fracturing or wear. With plenty of cool, iced beverages in your future, now is a good time to remind yourself and your youngsters that chewing on ice isn't a good idea. Ice is one of those products that can definitely crack your teeth. Use your chompers wisely and they'll serve you for decades to come!
Choose Teeth-Healthy Summer Snacks
Snacking is inevitable. Choose the right snacks for your teeth and your overall health:
- Kale, collard greens and any other dark leafy greens
Strawberries actually have a bit of a "scrubby" effect on your teeth – the tiny seeds lightly whisk away some of the accumulated food debris and film on the enamel. Firm veggies like carrot and celery sticks stimulate saliva in your mouth, which also helps to wash away food debris. Nature's summer bounty can be quite good for your dental health and your overall health.
Arrange Your Family's Next Check-Up
At the practice of our experienced Omaha dentists, we care about the optimal dental health of your entire family. We have four office locations across the city to better serve families in the area. To arrange your visits this summer, please call us in Hillsborough: 402-445-4647, Dundee: 402-502-5593, Ralston: 402-733-4441, or Village Point: 402-505-7474.