INDIANAPOLIS — In celebration of World Oral Health Day on Friday, March 20, dental professors at the Indiana University School of Dentistry offer these seven tips to keep your mouth healthy and disease-free:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel when cavities are forming. . Use only a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children.
- Floss daily to remove plaque between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach.
- Reduce sugar intake. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay; bacteria that create plaque use sugar for their energy.
- Go the dentist regularly for a dental examination and teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist to prevent plaque buildup and the gum diseases of gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Have a dentist place sealants on your back teeth. Sealants prevent pits and cavities.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is a leading cause of gum disease and numerous other health issues.
“Of the almost 300 chronic global health conditions, three oral diseases are in the top 10: adult caries (cavities) is number one, periodontal disease is 6, and childhood caries is number 10,” said Michael J. Kowolik, executive associate dean of the IU School of Dentistry. “All, if untreated, can lead to significant health problems and tooth loss. And there is increasing evidence they may aggravate some systemic diseases, in particular inflammatory diseases, such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes, which together kill millions of people around the world each year.
“A healthy mouth is the one of the first lines of defense for a healthy body,” Kowolik said. “Most dental problems can be prevented with simple measures in diet, tooth brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist.”
About the IU School of Dentistry:
The only dental school in the Hoosier state, the Indiana University School of Dentistry offers an extraordinary learning environment in which teaching, research and community service come together in the best way possible for the preparation of tomorrow’s dental professionals. Founded in 1879 as the Indiana Dental College, the school is in the heart of the state capital of Indianapolis at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, one of eight campuses in the IU system. IUPUI shares its location with the world-renowned IU School of Medicine and its partner, the IU Health academic health center. Many of the dental school’s faculty members have established strong collaborative ties with physicians and other scientists in the medical center facilities. Over 80 percent of the dentists in Indiana are alumni of the IU School of Dentistry.