Tooth decay is more common than asthma or hay fever in American children, even though the nation's oral health is the best it has ever been, according to Marsha Butler, DDS, Vice President, Global Professional Relations and Marketing for Colgate-Palmolive.
Millions of American children and adults suffer from oral diseases. Many of these problems could be alleviated or prevented by regular brushing, flossing and visits to a dental professional.
"We all need to take an active role in keeping our teeth healthy," says Dr. Butler. Here are some tips (in time for Dental Health Month) from Dr. Butler to help keep us smiling all year long.
* Before your infant's teeth appear, thoroughly clean the gums after each feeding with a water-soaked washcloth. When baby's teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with water and a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
* Once children are old enough to spit -- about two years old -- help them brush twice daily using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
* Check out your local water supply. If you're among the 100 million Americans without fluoridated tap water, discuss supplement options with your dental professional.
* If your child or teen participates in contact sports, prevent dental injuries by having a mouth guard fitted.
* Periodontal (gum) disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, and an estimated three out of four Americans have some form of it.
* You can help protect yourself from gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, by using Colgate(R) Total(R) -- the only toothpaste approved by the US FDA to help prevent gingivitis. Visit your dentist twice a year -- early detection of gum disease can reduce the risk of permanent damage.
* Smile not as bright as it once was? Some stains can be caused by antibiotics, or too much fluoride. Most stains are caused by tobacco, red wine, coffee or tea, though time itself can dull the color of our teeth. To improve their grins, millions of Americans are now whitening their teeth at home.
* At any age, eating healthy foods and avoiding tobacco will also contribute to good oral health.
For more information about Oral Health, visit the Oral Health Center on www.colgate.com.