An important part of being healthy is taking care of your teeth. It is important for adults and children to brush their teeth twice a day, floss their teeth once a day, limit junk food and sugary drinks, and visit the dentist regularly. A dental exam will keep teeth and gums healthy, prevent tooth decay, and catch any problems - like cavities or infections - before they become serious.
Children should visit the dentist regularly for checkups after their first tooth shows, but no later than their first birthday. Early checkups will help prevent tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can be painful, cause problems with eating and speaking, and lead to permanent tooth loss.
Your child’s dentist or doctor may talk to you about fluoride, which can provide extra protection for teeth. The application is quick and painless and can be applied during an office visit by your child’s dentist.
It is also important for pregnant women to take special care of their teeth and gums, as women with tooth decay are more likely to have pre-term, low birth weight babies. Regular brushing, flossing, and checkups are recommended, as is a healthy diet.
Talk to your doctor or dentist about taking care of your teeth and the steps you can take to help prevent tooth decay. If you have a child, talk to his/her dentist about the benefits of fluoride.