With the 2016 Olympics just around the corner we want to remind our Little Heroes that no matter who you are, you always need to take good care of your teeth. 

Sure, Team USA Olympic athletes may have toned muscles, incredible strength, speed, and agility, but that doesn’t mean they’re excused from taking care of their teeth.  They’ve got to keep those pearly whites healthy if they want a bright beautiful smile when they step up to claim their gold medal. 

Athletes depend on their bodies for performance, so they tend to focus all their energy in ensuring they are in perfect shape.  But sadly, these athletes also fail to realize just how much our gums can affect the rest of our body.

At Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry we are committed to educating our team of Little Olympians in proper oral health so that they too can claim their gold medal! We are proud to say that many of our patients participate in sports and other physical activities, and although this is very important for their physical health, we want to remind you that oral health is just as important.

London Eastman Dental Institute in the British Journal of Sports Medicine conducted extensive studies on the oral health of Olympic athletes in the 2012 London Olympic and determined that many of them had not visited a dentist or received dental hygiene care in the previous year.

In fact, 55 percent had cavities, and 76 percent had gingivitis, which is an infection in your gums that can spread to the ligaments and bones that support your teeth.  The end result of this study found that many of the Olympic athletes felt that their lack of proper oral hygiene was impacting their performance and well-being negatively.

To all our Little Heroes and future Olympians, the following tips can help ensure that you are practicing proper oral health care!

It’s all in the technique.

We can’t stress enough how important it is that you brush your teeth twice a day.  And when we say twice a day we mean in the the correct way.  Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointed toward your gum line, and use gentle, short, circular motions. We suggest brushing each tooth 10 to 15 times, but be careful with overdoing it. Aggressively brushing your teeth can lead to future damage and may even erode your gum line.

Floss, floss, floss.

Most of us are in a rush in the morning as we head to school, or basketball practice, and we forget to floss.  Flossing results in healthier teeth and gums. Just like brushing your teeth, there’s a special technique to flossing. If you floss incorrectly, it can cause friction and damage your gum line, something we definitely don’t want. Wrap about a foot of floss around your index fingers, keeping about two inches between your fingers to work with. Make sure to use a fresh section of floss for each tooth, and keep the floss tight against the tooth to break up plaque, while leaving your gums in good shape.

Drop the soda and drink water.

Soda is bad for your teeth, simple as that. We know it tastes delicious and can be refreshing on a hot summer day, but did you know that the phosphoric acid and citric acid that gives soda that perfect taste, is what’s eating away at the surface of your teeth. Now once in awhile it’s okay to indulge in a little soda, but keep in mind that a can or more a day will make your tooth enamel softer and more susceptible to cavities. Drink water instead, and if you feel you need a little extra flavor, then add a few sliced pieces of fruit such as crushed berries or orange slices.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it.

If you thought soda was bad, sugar is the main guilty party in tooth decay. Sugar stimulates bacteria and acidity in your mouth causing plaque to form and eat away at your enamel and gums. Every time you indulge in candy, cupcakes, or ice cream, your precious teeth are hit with up to 20 minutes of acid production.  Unfortunately, the only way to avoid suffering from tooth decay is cutting down on those sweets.  Again, it’s okay to have a piece of chocolate or slither of cake once in awhile, but everything in moderation. Our advice to you is to try to brush and floss your teeth after every meal or snack.

Visit us! We Miss You!

Our job is to make sure that our Little Heroes are in perfect oral health. Coming in twice a year for cleanings, regular dental maintenance, and checkups is of utmost importance.  If you have any questions or concerns about what is going on with their pearly whites, we’re here to answer them.  If they’re feeling any discomfort in their teeth don’t wait for their biannual checkup. Visit us right away!

We are rooting for Team Little Heroes and know that you all will succeed in caring for your teeth properly. We are here to aid in the battle against those pesky Sugar Bugs. We’ve got our team on the sidelines ready and prepared for action. Stop by today for a visit at Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry!

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