Tag Archives: dental

Brush away the candy on National Brush Day, Nov. 1

National Brush Day is November 1, and it is the perfect time to remember and reinforce good brushing habits. The day comes after the biggest candy day of the year…Halloween! No need to fear because two minutes of tooth time, two times a day, can go a long way in preventing tooth decay and keeping mouths healthy.

“Results from the most recent Oral Health Needs Assessment show that there continues to be a need to focus on prevention that includes brushing teeth two times a day, cleaning between the teeth daily, drinking fluoridated water, limiting sugary foods and drinks and getting dental sealants,” said Dr. Ray Lala, the Division of Oral Health Director.

Who doesn’t like to indulge a little on Halloween candy? If you or your young ones trick or treated this year, there are a few helpful tips from the American Dental Association (ADA) that will help you have a mouth safe Halloween.

Helpful Halloween tips to protect your teeth:

  • Try to eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. You produce more saliva during mealtime, and this helps rinse away food particles and works against the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth.
  • Limit snacking. Frequent snacking can increase your risk of cavities, especially if those snacks are sweet.
  • Be choosy about the candy you eat. Try to avoid sticky candy, hard candy, and other sweets that stick to your teeth and stay in your mouth for a long time. The longer a candy stays in the mouth the greater the risk of tooth decay. Chocolate washes off the teeth more easily, so it is a better candy choice but should still be limited.
  • Consider donating your extra candy. There are organizations that help you donate to the military and some dentists have candy take-back programs.
  • Make water your drink of choice and limit sugary beverages as much as possible. Drinking water with fluoride can help prevent tooth decay.

Observe National Brush Day by spreading the brushing message, buying a new toothbrush, and posting a pic of yourself brushing your teeth. Use #NationalBrushDay when posting on social media.

For questions or comments about oral health in South Carolina, email oralhealth@dhec.sc.gov.

Improve Your Child’s Healthy Smile

By: Mary Kenyon Jones, MEd., DHEC Division of Oral Health

Tooth decay is the most common disease affecting children. It is five times more common that asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. The good news is that it is preventable! With good home care and regular visits to the dentist beginning at age 1, your child can live a life free from tooth decay.

Mouth Care For Infants – 3+
Even before teeth arrive your child’s mouth can be protected. Parents and caregivers can use a clean wet cloth or gauze to gently wipe their child’s gums, cheeks, lips and tongue.  After teeth begin to arrive, your child’s teeth should be brushed twice a day with a soft bristle, child-sized toothbrush. For children ages 1-3, use a smear of toothpaste with fluoride. After age 3, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. It is good to avoid rinsing with water to help maximize the benefit of the fluoride in the toothpaste.

Get  a Brushing Routine
To make things easier, create a “toothbrushing routine.” The routine can include playing music, getting things set up, and using a favorite toothbrush. Try and stick to the same routine every day. Model good oral health by letting your child see you brushing your teeth.

Be a Brushing Coach
A child should be supervised while brushing their teeth until at least age 7 to ensure they are brushing properly.  Ideally you should brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. It is important to note that toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months, or sooner if your child chews on it or has been sick.

Healthy Mouth Nutrition
What, when and how often your child eats directly affects their oral health. Parents and caregivers should encourage children to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and healthy dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, cheese and unsweetened yogurt. Encourage your child to drink water  that contains fluoride. Discourage constant eating and drinking between meals.

Foods containing sugar should only be served at mealtimes and in limited amounts. Candy, cookies, cake and sweetened drinks increase your child’s risk of tooth decay. Sticky foods such as fruit roll-ups, caramels and chewy candies should be avoided.

A healthy lifestyle that includes good nutritional habits will help support your child’s oral health and overall health!

For more information about oral health, click here or visit www.mouthhealthy.org.  MouthHealthy