Guest contributor and Marin County dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives parents some tips on optimal oral health for children and teens.
Every parent wants his or her children to have optimum health. Fortunately, in dentistry we now know that optimizing oral heath actually improves our overall health. Although there have been countless articles about the link between oral health and overall health for adults, the reality is that the same holds true for infants, children, and teens as well. When the mouth is optimally healthy we are much more resistant to the numerous bacterial and viral infections that we have the potential to be exposed to every day. Common sense tells us that everything we eat and drink as well as the air we breathe all passes either through the mouth, or nasal passages.
All humans have a population of bacteria that inhabits this area, both good bacteria (important for proper digestion), and bad bacteria (causes gum disease and cavities). When the bad bacteria are allowed to proliferate, the delicate balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria is upset. If the mouth is not in healthy balance, the bad bacteria dominate the mouth, lowering the immune response and making us more susceptible to infection.
Guest contributor and Marin dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives us some tips on oral hygiene for babies, young children, and parents. Good oral health begins at day one, so make sure you get your children on track for a lifetime of healthy habits.
Caring for kids starts with caring for yourself, not only because periodontal disease can be contagious, but it is always good to lead by example.
For babies be sure to use dental friendly pacifiers and bottle nipples. The classic is the Nuk design.
Always avoid putting babies to bed with any bottles as the pooled milk or juice can lead to severe decay.
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.
Guest contributor and Marin dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives us some tips on how good oral hygiene can help prevent the flu and other illnesses this winter.
Teaching your kids to wash their hands frequently during flu season is a good idea, but brushing their teeth correctly could do more to prevent their actually coming down with a virus. Just as with adults, gum disease can lead to illness in other parts of the body, including flu, pneumonia, chronic colds, sinusitis, and ear infections.
Dr. McConnell shares his tips for teaching your kids flu-preventing oral hygiene techniques that parents can also use for their own benefit: