Taking Care of Your Teeth

Ava-Kelly gets tips for maintaining a healthy mouth from dental hygienist Bethany Tistle.

Everyone knows that dental hygiene is important. When children are very young, adults often help them take care of their teeth. However, as kids grow up and become more independent, it’s easier to forget about dental hygiene.

For many young people, the morning routine consists of brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. Bethany Tistle, a dental hygienist at Beaty Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois, recommends brushing after you eat.

“Brushing should be done at least two times a day,” she says, “once after breakfast, and once before bed.”

Brushing after meals gives you a chance to remove food that could get stuck between your teeth and potentially cause cavities. Flossing every day is also important.

Many kids may wonder whether they should use a manual or an electric toothbrush. Either one works, but Tistle prefers the latter. “It has a built-in, two-minute timer, which keeps you brushing the proper amount of time,” she says. “Most people only spend 30 seconds when they’re using a manual toothbrush, and that’s not enough time.”



Sugary snacks, acidic foods, and even carbonated water can be bad for your teeth. “Carbonation can change the PH balance of your mouth,” Tistle explains. This may lead to weakened enamel.

Tistle recommends using a straw when drinking sugary drinks or carbonated beverages.

Dairy products and foods that are crunchy, such as apples and carrots, are good for your teeth. But Tistle advises against eating foods that are sticky. Some examples are fruit snacks and caramel candy. Bits of food can get stuck in your teeth and cause cavities.

The dentists and staff at Beaty Dentistry are sensitive to people with allergies. Their office is gluten- and latex-free. Tistle says that people with pine nut allergies should avoid the fluoride varnish because it could cause a reaction.

In order to ensure that you maintain a healthy mouth, visit the dentist at least twice a year. Brush and floss daily, and make healthy food choices.  As Tistle says, “Dental hygiene is in the hands of the patient.”



Photo courtesy of the author