Bring in New Year With Resolution to Improve Oral Health

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California Dental Association encourages commitment to dental health in 2012

Practice good oral hygiene habits regularly and you can prevent dental pain and reduce the risk of cavities and more serious dental problems later on,” said Robinson, CDA president-elect.

The California Dental Association recommends a New Year’s resolution that focuses on a commitment to healthy oral hygiene habits. Among others, three essential steps for good oral health are brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly. Get into a routine of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice a day, flossing regularly and scheduling periodic dental checkups with your CDA member dentist.

“Brushing and flossing daily are the most effective ways to remove plaque and keep teeth and gums healthy,” said Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist. “Make it a habit for yourself and children.”

Parents should introduce a good oral hygiene routine to their children at a young age so they develop healthy lifelong habits. Wipe an infant’s teeth, especially along the gum line, with a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush after feeding. Begin brushing your child’s teeth with a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste at age two and continue to help your child brush and floss their teeth until they have mastered this skill – usually around age 7.

It is important that each family member use his or her own toothbrush and CDA recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months, or earlier if bristles look worn. In addition, maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet plays an integral role in dental health as well as overall health. Load up on fruits and vegetables as these foods promote saliva flow, helping to neutralize acids that attack tooth enamel.

“Practice good oral hygiene habits regularly and you can prevent dental pain and reduce the risk of cavities and more serious dental problems later on,” said Robinson, CDA president-elect. “And try to limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you do reach for a snack, choose low-sugar, nutrient-rich foods, like raw fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese or plain yogurt.”

Stay away from sugar-laden sodas and drink plenty of water, especially after meals, to keep gums hydrated and rinse away food particles that would otherwise remain in the mouth and promote bacterial growth that causes tooth decay.

About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit cda.org.    

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Alicia Malaby
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