February 1, 2023

Dr. Rocio Quinonez and Dr. Michael Tapper, two dentists who are married in Durham, N.C., know just how tricky it can be to stay on top of dental health, especially when you have kids. Here’s what they do to keep their family’s oral hygiene in check →
They brush, floss and rinse after every meal.
Dr. Quinonez and Dr. Tapper try to keep their mouths as pristine as possible at all times.
That means brushing first thing in the morning to dislodge “the bacteria that has been sitting in the mouth all night,” Dr. Quinonez said, and rinsing with mouthwash for fresh breath.
Then, they brush, floss and rinse after each meal of the day, if their schedule permits.
They avoid sticky, gooey, sugary foods and drinks.
Sugary foods and drinks that are sticky or gooey are the worst offenders for dental health because they encourage tooth decay.
“We have always been big advocates of not having any sodas in our house, whether they’re sugared or diet,” Dr. Tapper said.
They also do not keep sweet tea, sports drinks or sticky sweets around. But they do drink plenty of water between meals to swish out any lingering residue.
They don’t snack between meals.
Saliva is important for cleaning and protecting your teeth, Dr. Quinonez said, but constant snacking and grazing creates an imbalance that prevents it from doing its job, so they try to stick with three meals per day.
They also don’t drink sweet beverages like juices between meals. If they do want them, they enjoy them with food. Even then, Dr. Quinonez said, it’s better to gulp and not sip to minimize the time your teeth are exposed to the liquid.
They had a special bedtime routine with their children every night.
When their kids were young, Dr. Quinonez and Dr. Tapper implemented the three B’s every night: Brush, read a book, then time for bed.
They protect their teeth when they sleep.
Frequent grinding, gnashing or clenching can damage tooth surfaces and enamel, leading to sensitive teeth, sore jaws, headaches and more.
Dr. Quinonez said that she and Dr. Tapper both preventatively wear night guards to bed “to avoid wear of our teeth.”
They set an example.
Dr. Quinonez and Dr. Tapper practice what they preach. They don’t expect their children to do anything that they don’t do themselves.
They also try to emphasize the importance of a lifelong commitment to dental health, which to them, is a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends in the long run.
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