A Healthy Smile for You and Your Family
Tips for a healthy smile:
• Brush your teeth
twice a day
with a fluoride
• Floss at least once
• See a dentist regularly.
• Have any tooth decay or gum disease treated so you
do not pass it on to your baby.
• Don’t smoke.
• Don’t share spoons or other utensils once they have
been in your mouth.
• Avoid food high in sugar and foods
that stick to your teeth.
Your Teeth Are Important for:
- The way you look
Gum Disease During
Pregnancy May Cause:
• Premature babies − Premature babies may
have life-long problems
• Low birth weight babies
• Diabetes − Uncontrolled diabetes
can lead to serious
• Heart disease
• A tumor on your gums
It is best to treat gum disease before
becoming pregnant, but it can be treated after becoming
Baby teeth are important too; they help
children speak clearly and chew food
and they serve as “space keepers” for
the permanent teeth.
• Brush your child’s teeth twice
a day with a small “smear” of fluoride toothpaste.
• Floss your child’s teeth once a
• Take your child to a dentist for
• Talk to your child’s dentist or health care provider
about fluoride varnishes and dental sealants.
• Breastfeed your baby. Fully breastfed
babies have fewer cavities than bottle fed
• Clean your baby’s gums with a soft, clean washcloth.
• Don’t clean a baby’s pacifier
by putting it in your mouth.
• Don’t put baby to bed with a
• Wean your baby off the bottle
by 14 months.
• Get your baby a dental exam by age 1.
Tilt the brush at a 45° angle against the
Brushing only 2-3 teeth at a time, gently
brush the outside, inside and chewing
surfaces of all your teeth.
Use short back-and-forth or circular strokes.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue to
remove plaque (bacteria) and
freshen your breath!
Using your middle fingers, wrap about
18 inches of floss around them (but not
Leave about an inch or two of floss
between your hands. Use thumbs and
pointer finger to grasp/guide floss.
Now, gently follow the curves of your
teeth, sliding the floss up and down the
tooth’s surface a few times
Be sure to
go below the gumline to clean out
Tooth Decay and
Gums that bleed when you floss
or brush are not normal.
Other signs of gum disease
- puffy gums
- red gums
- tender gums
- bad breath
- loose teeth
The photo to the right shows bacterial infection in
the mouth caused by the build-up of
plaque on the teeth and gums.
Tooth decay is caused by:
- Bacteria (germs) found in plaque*
- Sugary foods and drinks
- Not brushing the teeth or brushing teeth
improperly (which leaves germs)
*PLAQUE is a film or coating which contains
bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums.
Results of Tooth Decay:
- Pain and infection
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of self-esteem
- Lost work or school days
- Poor nutrition
- Expensive to fix
An Acid Attack:
Acid produced by the bacteria in the plaque
destroys the tooth’s enamel (the hard outer
covering of a tooth) and, after repeated
attacks, creates a hole or “cavity.”
- Frequent soda drinking will
increase the risk of tooth
- Sugar and acid combine
with bacteria in the mouth to
form more acid
- Even diet, sugar-free sodas
contain acid which can harm
You Can Prevent Tooth
Decay and Gum Disease by:
- Brushing teeth twice a day
- Flossing teeth once a day
- Limiting the amount of sugar
that you eat or drink
- Getting teeth and gums
checked at least once a year
More dental health information:
www.aapd.org American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html American Dental Hygenists’ Association
www.ada.org/public.aspx American Dental Association