How healthy teeth can prevent the flu

December 17, 2009 4:44:58 PM PST
Help prevent your child from getting the flu through good oral hygiene.

Dr. McConnell's Tips for Good Oral Hygiene:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before practicing oral hygiene.

  • Floss daily.

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes focusing on the gum-line. Brush your tongue - it collects bacteria too.

  • Use good products. Sonicare toothbrushes and WaterPik dental water jets are excellent, the latter of which is especially good for kids with braces.

  • Visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up.

  • Air-dry your toothbrush in an upright position after using to allow bacteria to die when exposed to oxygen.

  • Replace your toothbrush at least every season. If you've been sick, replace it as soon as your illness is on the mend to prevent reinfection.

  • Never share your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash or toothbrush holder.
Dr. McConnell's Oral Hygiene Tips for Babies and Children:
  • On babies, before teeth are present, use single gauze or thin wash cloth to gently displace bacteria-rich film that sticks to gum ridges. As they get teeth, continue to use gauze or wash cloth. Be sure to use dental-friendly pacifiers and bottle nipples. Never put them to bed with a bottle as the pooled milk or juice can lead to severe decay.

  • As baby is comfortable, usually by age one, graduate to a small-head infant-sized brush using water or infant toothpaste. Before they are three, it is safe to use training toothpaste that is not fluoridated.

  • When all the teeth are in by ages two to three, use a toothbrush and child toothpaste. When the child is able to spit and doesn't swallow the toothpaste, use fluoride toothpaste. Don't allow swallowing of the toothpaste.

  • Parents should floss their child's teeth until the child is able to do so themselves.

  • Reinforce good health and good early health habits by bringing your child in for regular dental visits.

  • Set a good example for your kids by taking great care of your own teeth and gums.

  • Be cautious with herbal or homeopathic teething remedies, as some contain very strong ingredients, like Belladonna. While not disapproved by the FDA, it is a strong nerve depressant.
About Dr. Steven McConnell:
Dr. Steven McConnell is certified in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, and since 1978, the sole practitioner/owner of The Marin Center for Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry in Novato, CA.
Website: www.cosmeticdentistrymarin.com


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