Healthy dental hygiene: Could save your life!

MISSISSIPPI (WTOK) – ALABAMA (WTOK) – It’s February and this means that it’s the perfect time to talk about our teeth! That’s because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. It turns out that healthy dental hygiene could save your life.

For 2-year-old Jacob Smith from DeKalb, Monday was a big day because it was his first visit to the dentist.

“They love candy and by loving candy they have to keep their teeth healthy,” says Jacob’s mom, Jade Smith.

Dentists at Happy Smiles Dentistry in Meridian say having healthy teeth is important at any age.

“There’s definitely a connection between oral health and your overall health, particularly your cardiovascular issues,” says Dr. Taylor Farland. “So, if you have particular cardiac issues your oral health is even that much more important because they do impact each other.”

That’s why Dr. Farland says starting healthy hygiene habits early can be life-saving.

“There can be life threatening infections that can come through in a dental decay that is not being taken care of in a timely fashion,” says Farland. “So, it can be lethal. You don’t necessarily think about it, but the potential is there.”

According to the CDC, tooth decay continues to be one of the most common chronic diseases among children. That’s why dental professionals encourage parents to look for ways to get their children excited about taking care of their teeth.

“It depends on the toothbrush,” says Smith. “You know the kind of toothbrushes that make a noise and light up and that move on their own. So, I have to buy them special toothbrushes just for them to brush their teeth.”

Regardless of age, dental professionals say the best ways to prevent cavities include:

1. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
2. Flossing daily.
3. Limiting sugary and sticky foods.