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Idental- Dr. Jenny Lee
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Proper nutrition means eating a well-balanced diet so that your body can get the nutrients needed for good health and wellness. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection. This may contribute to periodontal disease, a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and can be more severe in people with nutrient-poor diets.

If you’re caring for children, a balanced diet along with good oral hygiene habits will help them develop strong, decay-resistant teeth. Pay particular attention to calcium, phosphorous and proper levels of fluoride.

Eating patterns and food choices among children and teens are important factors that affect how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. When bacteria come into contact with food in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth decay, if flossing and tooth brushing are not completed on a regular basis.
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Flossing can be a challenge with children, but it’s essential for their dental health. Regular flossing helps fight plaque, clean teeth, improve breath, and prevent major dental care problems. Fortunately, family dentistry experts in Brandon have come up with some fresh and fun ways to turn flossing into child’s play. And flossing is in the spotlight right now, with National Flossing Day coming up on November 29.

1. Track Their Success – Create a flossing chart and hang it on the bathroom wall. Add a colorful sticker to the chart each time your child flosses. Then offer an incentive for flossing many days in a row, such as staying up later or going to the movies.

2. Turn It Into Fun and Games – Make flossing fun by turning the dental care habit into a dance party or adventure story. Find a lively song and ask kids to floss to the beat. Or tell a thrilling tale about how floss fighters beat bad bacteria. With a little creativity, flossing can be lots of fun.

3. Get Tiny Tools – While adults get plain packs of floss, kids have much cooler choices with special flossing tools made just for them. The most popular are floss sticks, which come in bright colors and some even glow in the dark. They’re easy for kids to hold, but their small size means that more than one is usually needed to floss all of their tiny teeth.

4. Praise Their Performance – Kids respond to positive reinforcement, so make it a habit to praise their flossing. By giving your kiddos kudos for flossing, it makes them feel good about this new healthy habit and motivates them to floss forever.

5. Lead By Example – Children usually learn from their parents, so flossing on a regular basis encourages them to do the same. Turn flossing into a family event and let everyone have the healthy rewards.
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Baby teeth may be small, but they're important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing and speaking clearly. That's why caring for baby teeth and keeping them decay-free is so important.

Caring for Baby's Gums

You can start caring for baby's gums right away. But at first, the care won't involve a toothbrush and toothpaste. Instead, take these steps:

Get a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze.
Gently wipe down your baby's gums at least twice a day.
Especially wipe your baby's gums after feedings and before bedtime.
This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Bacteria can leave behind a sticky plaque that damages infant teeth as they come in.

Brushing Baby's Teeth

When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Choose one with a:

*soft brush
*small head
*large handle

At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a peas sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 3 years old. Brush gently all around your child's baby teeth -- front and back.

You should brush your baby's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay -- brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.
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It’s no secret there exists a strong link between soda consumption and tooth decay. Heavy soda consumption has also been linked to other health complications including diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.

During the past generation, milk intakes have decreased while soda pop and 100 percent juice intakes have increased. It has become a daily habit for a growing number of people, especially kids, teens and young adults. A steady consumption of soft drinks is one of the leading causes of tooth decay.

However, measures can be taken to prevent and reduce tooth decay. The conclusions of a recent study support contemporary daily dietary guidelines for children that include:

*Consuming two or more servings of dairy foods
*Limiting the intake of 100 percent juice to four to six ounces
*Restricting other sugared beverages to occasional use

This doesn’t mean a person should never drink soda. In fact, drinking it in moderation may represent no harm at all. However, substituting sugary, acidic carbonated beverages for water or intake of caloric food could be problematic in the long run.

How soda attacks your teeth

The “Sip All Day, Get Decay” slogan isn’t just meant to be a catchy tagline – it’s literally the truth!

Sugar in soda combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which attacks the teeth. Diet or “sugar-free” soda contains its own acid, which also can damage teeth. Each attack lasts about 20 minutes and starts over with every sip of soda you take.

These ongoing acid attacks weaken tooth enamel. Kids and teens are most susceptible to tooth decay because their tooth enamel is not fully developed.

You can avoid tooth decay and other health problems that arise from drinking too many soft drinks, other carbonated beverages, sports drinks, iced and sweet teas and other sweetened liquids (like fruit juices). Limiting your intake, brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly will reduce your risk of tooth decay improve and/or maintain your oral health.
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If you're concerned about keeping up with good oral hygiene, you may be wondering how long to brush your teeth for the best results. You want to be sure that you're getting your teeth clean enough. So how long is good enough?

Many dentists agree that proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Dr. Jenny, goes one step further and typically has her patients brush for three minutes — one and a half minutes on both the upper teeth and the bottom teeth. Most people don't even come close to brushing for two minutes, let alone three. Three minutes can seem like a long time - especially for little ones. Dr. Jenny recommends using a timer to make it a bit more fun. There are also electronic toothbrushes that have self-timers to help you get back on track.

Though it is important to pay attention to how long you're brushing, it's even more important to make sure all surfaces are clean. According to Jenny, "Proper brushing technique is probably more important than timing." Remember to brush using short strokes, moving back and forth against the teeth and gums, around the surface of every tooth. Use the tip of the brush to reach behind each front tooth on the top and bottom. In addition, don't forget flossing - it's just as important as brushing.

If you don't brush your teeth long enough, you may not be getting your teeth clean enough. If you leave behind bacteria on the teeth after brushing, it can lead to serious problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Additionally, according to Dr. Jenny, recent studies have found that heavy plaque in the mouth can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.

Can too much brushing be detrimental? According to Dr. Jenny, it's not an issue of brushing for too long, it's an issue of applying too much pressure when brushing. Using too much pressure can cause abrasion of the enamel and of the gum tissue, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Dr. Jenny recommends trying to use your non-dominant hand to brush - you may be amazed to realize just how much pressure you are applying.
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