Healthy Teeth for Your Family: 4 Tips From Dental Health Experts + How You Can Win A Free Smile Makeover

Growing up, maintaining good dental habits was a priority in my family. My mom would schedule our teeth cleanings every 6 months and we never missed them. She figured it was a lot more affordable to maintain healthy teeth than it was to fix them.

I guess that is why I am diligent myself about getting my family to the dentist at least twice a year. Establishing good dental habits early on in my kids’ lives is important to me because it’s what sets them up for when they get older. I’m not going to be on them at age 30 reminding them to brush their teeth, so why not start these habits now.

Good oral hygiene habits are not only for kids, but also adults.

Many times, adults start to neglect their own dental issues and doing so can cause more issues to arise later on. Some may be cosmetic — like the chipped crown I have right now, but some may need some immediate attention and a visit to the dentist.

I know that many times life may get in the way of addressing these issues — money, time, and fear can all contribute to dental health neglect. That’s why I’m so happy to partner with Studio Dental of River Park in Sugar Land to help promote Project Smile! Dr. Tien Dang of Studio Dental is giving one very-deserving person a free, complete smile makeover. So if you or someone you know would like to enter, click here for all the details.

Dr. Dang also wanted to pass along these very important tips that you can apply today to help keep your kids, and your teeth the healthiest they can be:

Stop Thumb-sucking to Save New Teeth

Thumbsucking is a common challenge that many young children face. Though it might seem harmless, it can have long-term developmental effects on your child and should be stopped. Dental malocclusion or tooth misalignment is the most common issue caused by thumbsucking. Tooth misalignment can lead to a multitude of issues, including bite misalignments and even speech impediments. Children can be cruel and speech impediments or tooth misalignments may even lead toward social issues.

To prevent these issues, stop thumbsucking early. For babies and toddlers, use a pacifier. A pacifier helps to protect the development of your child’s teeth and is something that is easily grown out of. For young children, stopping thumbsucking isn’t as easy. Thumbsucking is often done as a form of self-comfort and you may have to identify causes of stress and use encouragement and reinforcement to halt the behavior.

Prevent Developmental Problems With At-Home Checkups

As your child grows and their permanent teeth develop, there are many opportunities for dental health problems to arise. From gum infection to permanent teeth growing out of alignment, many problems can be curbed with the help of a simple checkup.

Oftentimes the most important dental checkup your child can have is the one that you give them. Checking your child’s teeth regularly can help you identify anything from a little food stuck between teeth to tooth decay. 

No matter what the state of your child’s mouth, doing a regular checkup can help you to identify and treat problems early on. Even if the issue is something so serious that you can’t treat at home, you will be able to bring them to a professional before it gets too serious.

For teenagers, checking for how their wisdom teeth are developing is also incredibly important as infections can develop in the gums where the wisdom teeth are growing.

Hydrate a Dry Mouth 

For the older members of the family, a common issue that can arise with middle-aged adults is a dry mouth. While a dry mouth doesn’t sound like much more than a nuisance, there are a number of harmful effects that it can have on your health. The effects can include everything from gingivitis to tooth decay. If a dry mouth only happens occasionally, it can be treated by stimulating your salivary glands with a piece of sugar-free gum or hard candy. Avoid sour flavors as the acid from the candy or gum can contribute to tooth decay.

If the dryness is chronic, the wear and tear caused by short term treatments like gum and hard candy may not be a sustainable solution and a trip to the dentist’s office for a more potent treatment is likely in order. Commonly prescribed treatments include mouthwashes and saliva substitutes.

Promote Good Dental Health at Home

One of the most important ways to help your family’s dental health as they develop is to simply encourage good dental health at home. The best way to do this is by making brushing teeth fun. Make it fun by brushing together. Listen to fun music to help you not only have more fun, but also time your brushing. Dentists suggest brushing for two minutes a session, with two sessions a day. If you’re not able to be there when it’s time to brush teeth, use incentives to keep your younger children from skipping brushing.

Toddler Healthy Teeth

In addition, for older family members, ensure that they are also performing the proper maintenance for any tooth replacements that they might have like dental implants or dentures. Improper and irregular care of those items can lead to a number of dental health problems.

Just as important are regular checkups with a dental health professional. A dentist will be able to help you identify and treat problems. 

Even for families without insurance, a trip to the dentist’s office is becoming more and more accessible as many dental practices offer payment options that don’t require insurance. However, any trip to the dentist is incredibly important even if you aren’t able to go regularly.

Done in collaboration with Project Smile. Project Smile is a community event by Studio Dental of River Park to promote good dental health in the greater Houston community and also inspire professionals to give back to their city. To learn more about Project Smile or enter the Project Smile giveaway visit

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