Teach Your Children

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There is actually an international association of dental professionals who use eco-friendly methods.

It is called the Eco-Dentistry Association.And it offers six tips for improving dental health – and the environment.For a start, it recommends that children should start early.

It says dentistry is a healing experience and should not be traumatic. Trauma – and the fear of dental chairs and drills – is best prevented when one takes children to dental appointments at a young age.

Teach children to turn off the water while brushing the teeth.

Teenagers should try using night guards. These devices prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding related to stress.

Choose the night guard created by your dentist specific to the teenager’s bite. Be sure that it is not made of plastics potentially detrimental to the environment.

Select the appropriate mouthwash for children – the one that doesn’t contain alcohol. This is important because a tooth tonic or mouthwash should be introduced as a dental routine during the teenage years – and alcohol is certainly an ingredient that is not part of this.

Then try digital imaging. Although the technology is not so widespread in the Philippines, it is available and used in some clinics like Dr. Smile at The Podium in the Ortigas business center in Pasig and at SM North Edsa, The Annex, Lower Ground Level, Q.C.

These diagnostic images use less radiation than radiographs (also called X-rays). The digital images don’t degrade over time and are easily sent by e-mail to you, your dentists and other appropriate specialists.

And while we are dwelling on the topic of what’s the right dental care for our children, I will take this opportunity to offer a few advice for adults as well. Mind you, these recommendations come from no less than the American Dental Association.

Eating – and crunching ice cubes – is a favorite pastime, as if the cubes are part of the snacks as well. For that matter, include candy and popcorn that hasn’t popped, or any other hard chewables that should not be chewed or crunched.

This is a no-no habit as it can fracture teeth.

Clean teeth the right way. This is done by ridding of food debris the space between the gumline and the point where gum attaches to the tooth. Turn the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in order for the bristles to reach out-of-the-way places.

Use dental floss in order to reach particularly deep pockets. Tie a single or double knot in the floss to reach food particles.

When flossing the back teeth, curve the thread around the tooth and push it underneath the gumline.

Change toothbrush regularly. A change is due when the outer bristles of the brush start to flare or look like overgrown bush instead of the straight lines they were on during first use.

Last but not least, stop smoking. Smoking is so destructive to teeth and gums that many gum specialists in the United States won’t even treat smokers with dental problems because they don’t respond well to treatment.

For more information, visit the American Dental Association’s Web site: ada.org.

Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, President/CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@gmail.com or text 0917-8591515.

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