Having a perfect smile can boost your personal confidence. Additionally, a nice smile can improve your job prospects in life, and even contribute to your overall health. That’s why your Melbourne orthodontist and other dental professionals celebrate National Smile Month between May and June every year. It’s a great chance to talk to our neighbors about the importance of oral health.
Despite having better oral health than ever before in history — and better education on how to keep our teeth healthy — we still have a large percentage of adults in this country that don’t take very good care of their teeth. Almost everyone has some room for improvement!
Oral Health Care in America
Despite the fact that kids are taught at home and at school from their earliest years, large numbers of adults don’t brush and floss their teeth often enough. That’s why we are using National Smile Month as a chance to remind everyone why it’s so important to take good care of their teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) says that only about half of all adults in the US brush their teeth twice a day (56 percent of women and 49 percent of men). About 51 percent of adults say they floss once a day, and 31 percent floss less than once a day. The remaining 18 percent say they never floss at all.
So, it’s clear that despite having access to affordable fluoride toothpaste and floss in America, a lot of people are still missing out on some of the easiest ways to protect their teeth and their smile.
How We Can All Take Better Care of Our Smiles
Brushing Our Teeth More Regularly
The best guideline for brushing your teeth is to do it twice per day, for two minutes each time. That’s a total of just four minutes daily. You’re free to do whatever you want with the remaining 167 hours and 32 minutes of every week!
Even though most of us know this, many parents say their kids are not brushing the recommended twice per day. As a goal for National Smile Month, we should all commit to brushing twice a day, in order to reestablish this as a good habit.
Flossing Once a Day
Flossing should be done at least once per day, preferably right before bedtime. It is the next most important self-care action you take to benefit your smile besides brushing. Daily flossing gets rid of any bits of food and plaque between the teeth, in locations that you cannot reach by brushing alone. It’s highly effective at preventing cavities, yet a majority of parents say their kids often don’t manage to floss daily. That’s another good habit we could all challenge ourselves to meet during National Smile Month.
Cutting Down on Sugary Foods & Drinks
If you wear braces, then your orthodontist in Melbourne has probably already advised you to avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. Sugars are a natural food for the types of bacteria that love to eat their way through tooth enamel. Without food, the bacteria can’t produce acid and therefore can’t create cavities.
A goal we can all set for National Smile Month is to cut down on sugar. Try to decrease the amount of soda, sugary desserts, and treats. We know these are bad for our teeth!
Start Good Habits by Age 1
A child’s first dental visit should happen within six months of their first tooth coming in, or by about age 1. Unfortunately, a majority of children don’t make it to that first dental visit until they are at least two and a half years old. Even though a one-year-old can’t hold a toothbrush yet, brushing should become a regular task. This should start as soon as that first tooth has erupted. The sooner parents are able to help establish good habits, the better the outcome will be for their child’s smile!
Make it to Regular Dental Checkups
Everyone should get a regular dental checkup at least twice a year. One good reason for this is that oral health has been linked to a number of systemic health conditions. These range from cancer to diabetes and heart disease.
Contact Melbourne Orthodontics
At Melbourne Orthodontics, we are dedicated to helping you achieve that perfect smile. If you’re interested in Invisalign, braces, or other orthodontic procedures in Melbourne, contact our office to schedule your next appointment.