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01/25/2010

Creating a Good Brushing and Flossing Foundation

Omb_teeth My dad was diagnosed with cardio-myopathy four years ago and had two massive heart attacks two days before the Christmas of 2006. His difibulator/pacemaker combo saved his life. I had never given thought to heart disease in my family before, but now I think it about it all the time. The scary event of almost losing my dad made me do a bit of research on heart disease and ways to prevent it.  In my research, I found that one third of deaths among women is caused by heart disease (womensheart.org). That number scares me, especially considering I am now a mother of two very young children and they count on me. I also became privy to the fact that studies are going on that may link periodontal disease with heart disease. Wow, I thought, a very easy and cheap way to help keep my body healthy; but, more importantly, to teach my children good oral hygiene for more than just healthy teeth and gums. Good brushing and flossing routines could potentially save their lives.

From what I understand, the plaque build up between teeth causes harmful bacteria that not only eats away at the teeth, but also have a direct link to blood vessels that go to the heart.  When I was pregnant my midwife told me to floss, but I had no idea the powerful impact flossing and brushing could have on my heart health. I just thought flossing was important for a healthy pregnancy and I did it. Before pregnancy, I was an off again/on again flosser, not even thinking that toothpaste and mint-flavored string were just as important as my trips to the gym. Now that children are in the mix, I am more concerned about my health and I look at brushing and flossing differently.

My daughter went to the dentist at two years old. She got a fluoride treatment, a good teeth cleaning, and information on the types of toothpaste and toothbrushes to use. The dentist told me that once a day brushing was terrific at that age, but adding one more brushing before bed does wonders in preventing cavities and gum disease. When she was three I took her again. The dental hygienist said her teeth looked great and to start incorporating flossing each day into our routine. Flossing a three year old made me nervous. I was worried she would never let me do it or that I would accidentally cut her gums (floss can be sharp and three year olds are quite wiggly!).

It took us a little working out logistics: should she stand, sit, learn to do it herself? We finally figured out that lying on her bed was the easiest. I use bubblegum flavored floss and work as quickly as possible. She actually likes to do it, especially when she sees me doing it and wants her turn. She says “Mama, I want the bubble yarn for my teeth.” Now, I can’t say that I floss my daughter’s teeth everyday – it is just too hard when she is a grouch or simply is not cooperating. But, at least I have the beginnings of a hopefully good relationship between my daughter and her toothbrush and floss.

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

Kristin’s alter ego is cBus Mom. Follow her on twitter or read her blogs: cBus Mom or Glass of Whine.

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