From the June 2019 issue

Meet 2019 Smile Ambassador Avian of Pontiac

This 5-year-old is the first-ever CoverKids Delta Dental Smile Ambassador. Here, Avian and his mom share their secrets to a smile that wows the dentist.

Brought to you by Delta Dental

Not once, not twice, but three times. That’s how many times Avian, 5, and his mom brush his teeth every day. “I currently brush his teeth in the morning and before bed. When Avian is at school, he brushes them after lunch,” says Jakresha Cottingham, Avian’s mom. Dental care is so important to them, it’s no surprise that Avian’s smile dazzled the judges of Metro Parent’s CoverKids Search.

“Taking care of your teeth is super important to your overall health. Your smile is your first impression,” says Cottingham. This Pontiac family really makes dental care a priority, being sure to schedule dental appointments regularly so Avian’s teeth can stay healthy and bright.

And, lucky for all of us, it’s easy to get Avian to flash that grin. “Dinosaurs make him smile the most. However, he loves all animals and people, so it’s not hard to make him smile,” mom adds.

So what tip does Avian have to help other kids get a gleaming grin? “Brush your teeth, and don’t eat a lot of candy because you will get cavities,” he says. And to get that perfect cheesin’ pose, Avian says to just have fun, because the best pictures are always when you’re just having fun.

7 steps to become a smile ambassador

Anyone can be a Smile Ambassador with some good dental care. Getting that winning grin like Avian’s just means taking care of your oral hygiene – and it’s easy. Just be sure to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day – and don’t forget to floss! Want to make sure you’re brushing properly? Follow these seven tooth-brushing tips and you’ll be on your way to a pearly-white smile, perfect for cheesin’.

  1. Put a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on your toothbrush.
  2. Start with your molars (your chewing teeth). Use small, circular strokes along the sides of the tooth. Then repeat on the chewing surface.
  3. Brush each molar, moving from the back of your mouth to the front.
  4. To brush your front teeth, use small circular strokes around the entire surface.
  5. Brush the backs of your teeth by tilting the toothbrush vertically (up and down).
  6. To finish, rinse your mouth with some water.
  7. Don’t forget to floss to maintain a healthy smile!

Delta Dental’s Dental Dozen

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Check out these 12 tips to help you keep your smile bright and healthy.

1. Choosing the right toothbrush

Look for toothbrushes with larger, easy-to-grip handles and smaller heads for baby teeth. A child’s toothbrush should also have soft bristles, and it should be replaced as soon as the bristles look worn or frayed – about every three months.

2. When to schedule the first exam

A child’s first oral exam should be scheduled as soon as his first tooth comes in – or by his first birthday, whichever comes first. It can also be beneficial for parents to bring their children along for their own dentist appointments to help kids feel less anxious when it’s time for their exam. As children get older, they should have dental checkups every six months.

3. Soda stop

Sugary beverages like juice and soda pop can damage the enamel of teeth and leave stains. For a healthy smile, choose water over sugar-sweetened drinks.

4. Guard that grin

If your child plays sports, make sure she wears a mouthguard – and make sure it fits properly. A tooth that’s been knocked out only has 60 minutes to survive if kept in a dry environment.

5. Smiling for success

Kids miss 51 million hours of school annually because of oral health problems. These students miss critical instruction time, especially in early grades where math and reading skills are taught.

6. Don’t forget to floss

When the bacteria in your mouth isn’t brushed or flossed away, it turns into a sticky coating called plaque – and plaque can lead to cavities. To prevent cavities, be sure to floss every day.

7. Attack the plaque

Even when you spend two whole minutes brushing, it’s hard to know if you brushed everywhere. If you want to see where you missed, purchase some plaque-disclosing tablets. All you have to do is chew it for 30 seconds, swish it around and spit. Look at your smile in the mirror and every spot with plaque will stand out in a bright color for you.

8. Brush wetters

Some people choose to wet their toothbrush before they squeeze on a dollop of toothpaste; others just glob it on while the bristles are dry. While wetting the bristles first can soften them and make for a more comfortable experience, it really doesn’t make a difference to your overall dental hygiene.

9. Gentle on gums

It might seem like a good idea to scrub your teeth as hard as you can, but brushing too hard can actually be harmful to your gums.

10. Fluoride forever

The type of toothpaste you use can make a difference. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the surface of the tooth more resistant to cavity-causing plaque. It also helps to add calcium and other minerals back into your teeth. When it comes to toothpaste, get one with fluoride.

11. Healthy food, healthy mouth

What’s even better than brushing away the sticky, sugary foods from your teeth? Not letting it get there to begin with. Opt for healthy, sugar-free snacks to help prevent cavities. Who knew healthy snacks would be just as good for your teeth as they are for your body?

12. Timing matters

Leaving food-gunk in your mouth all day can lead to cavities, so do your morning brushing after breakfast so your teeth can be clean throughout your morning. And when you brush before bed, make sure you don’t eat anything after so your teeth aren’t sitting in leftover food all night long.

Brought to you by Delta Dental.

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