Take 12 Steps for Health
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TAKE 12 THIS MONTH?
Step 7: Sink Your Teeth Into Better Health
Take good care of your mouth, as it is the gateway to the rest of your body. Schedule regular checkups and cleaning for yourself and your family.
Making Healthy Strides
|ON YOUR OWN||AS A FAMILY|
Be aware of the amount of sugar you eat, and the possible impact on your teeth and gums.
Make sure everyone is brushing twice per day and flossing daily. Change your family’s toothbrushes at the same time, about every 3 to 4 months (or less).
Toddler Tooth Tips
Toddlers generally erupt their first teeth between 3 – 6 months of age. This is an exciting yet sometimes painful or frustrating time for both children and parents. Here are some tips to keep those new teeth healthy and shiny.
- Use a warm washcloth or a moistened cotton swab to clean your child's teeth after every meal. This gets the child used to something in his or her mouth.
- You don't need to add toothpaste into the regimen until your child is 2 years old; use only a pea-sized amount on the bristles.
- Start in the back to clean the molars, which are most susceptible to infection, and then work forward to the front teeth. You can either face the child or have him or her sit on your lap.
- Bedtime is the most important time to brush.
- Schedule dental appointments early in the day, but avoid naptime. When bringing the child to the dentist for the first time, it's okay to bring a comfort item such as a blanket or favorite toy. Make the experience positive for the child.
- Have one toothbrush the child can play with and one that you use to clean the teeth.
- If necessary, only let your child go to sleep with a bottle filled with water. Formula, milk or juice can cause baby bottle tooth decay.
- Avoid chewable vitamins that list sugar as the first ingredient.
Source: Know Your Teeth, "Toddler Tooth Tips"
Bite into Wellness
Researchers know there's a synergic relationship between oral health and overall wellness. Gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world and is linked to a host of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. People with gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke.
Why? The mouth is a main point of entry for infection. Ongoing inflammation in your mouth can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which may lead to more inflammation in other parts of your body, such as the heart.
To protect your oral health, get in the habit of taking time for your teeth, every day. Here are some suggestions:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Avoid using tobacco of any kind.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Most importantly, do not wait to contact your dentist when an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
Source: Mayo Clinic, "What conditions may be linked to oral health?"; WebMD, "How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Wellness"
A Mouthful of Knowledge
Our teeth are important for eating, talking, and smiling, but most often we overlook how special teeth can be. Here are some fun facts about your mouth!
- U.S. consumers buy 14 million gallons of toothpaste each year!
- Most adults have 32 teeth, while mosquitos have about 47 teeth, and snails have about 25 teeth . . . on their tongues.
- Your tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body.
- Teeth start to form even before birth. Baby teeth start to form when a baby is in the womb, but don’t erupt until a child is between six and twelve months old.
- Humans have two sets of teeth during their lifetime, while sharks have around 40 sets of teeth.
- Saliva protects your teeth from bacteria in your mouth and produces over 25,000 quarts throughout your life. That’s enough to fill two swimming pools!
- The average person spends 38 days brushing their teeth during their lifetime.
- Modern toothpaste has only been available for the past hundred years. Before this invention, humans used charcoal or ground chalk, ashes, lemon juice, and honey-tobacco mixtures to clean their teeth!
Source: Acceledent, "10 Fun Facts about Teeth"
Get Info for the 50+ Crowd at the Park Authority’s 50+ Web Portal
The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older. The 50+ Engage-Connect-Play portal provides one-stop shopping for information on Fitness & Wellness, Arts & Learning, Gardening & Adventure, Giving Back, and more that’s geared toward Baby Boomers and active seniors.
Learn More at Fairfax County Park Authority - Fifty Plus.
The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:
- Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
- Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
- Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
- Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
- Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!