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Ornella Green UWI
Tuesday, March 02, 2010

If you are like most TEENs, then a trip to your dentist's office isn't exactly one of the events in your life that you anticipate. However, it is a necessary one.

TEENs can be very tough on their teeth. With a busy schedule of school, co-curricular and social activities, it may seem that there is not enough time to brush teeth regularly and properly. This combined with an unhealthy diet of a lot of junk food, candy and sodas, is a definite recipe for dental decay and a dentist drilling your teeth. Now, no one looks forward to facing a dentist's drill, so isn't it better to prevent cavities before the drilling begins?

Flossing removes excess foods from teeth.

Dentists have often said that the most important part of tooth care happens at home. Here are a few steps to ensuring that your teeth are in good health and well-taken care of.

1 - Brush your teeth two to three times daily with a fluoride containing toothpaste. Dentists recommend that the minimum time one should spend brushing their teeth is two minutes, twice a day. Brushing regularly cleans your teeth and stimulates the gums, which helps to keep them healthy and prevent gum disease. Also, Fluoride, the most common active ingredient in toothpaste, is what prevents cavities and inhibits decay.

2 - Clean between your teeth daily with floss. To keep your teeth clean and healthy, brushing alone is not enough. Dentists recommended that individuals floss at least once a day and use un-waxed floss because it is thinner and easier to slide through small spaces. It is important to floss because it removes the plaque and particles of food stuck between your teeth, under the gumline, or under braces.

3 - Use a mouthwash and rinse your mouth thoroughly to cure bad breath and help combat the effect of bacteria.

4 - Use a soft or medium tooth brush. A hard one may damage enamel.

5 - Buy a new toothbrush every two to three months or sooner if the bristles get worn out or bent.

6 - Drink water throughout the day to ensure that any trapped particles are washed away and to minimise
the effect of bacteria in the mouth.

7 - Chew sugarless gums after meals to help clean the mouth.

8 - Get regular dental check-ups. It is recommended that you visit your dentist every six months or as needed. The main reason for going to the dentist regularly, is as a preventative method. The aim is to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other disorders that put the health of your teeth and mouth at risk.

9 - Eat healthy snacks, such as bananas, as substitutes for candies and energy bars. Eating sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. When you eat sugary foods or drink sodas frequently throughout the day, the enamel that protects your teeth is constantly exposed to acids. Hard candies, cough drops, and breath mints that contain sugar are especially harmful because they dissolve slowly in your mouth. Replace these with healthier options like fruit so you can get your sweet tooth satisfied without doing much harm to your teeth.
Practicing good dental health is more than just about having the perfect smile. It's about having healthy teeth and gums and preventing the emergence of dental diseases that may arise in adulthood or your golden years. Remember the best person to take care of you is YOU!

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