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Learning good dental hygiene as a kid is the perfect way to ensure that you’ll have healthy habits as an adult. It is important to take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and rinsing regularly. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at night will dramatically reduce the amount of plaque that sticks to your teeth. Make sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes-some kids find it helpful to use a timer and brush, brush, brush until time is up! Remember that a good cleaning routine is only one step in taking care of your teeth. Make sure to visit the family dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning and check-up. The dentist will tell you if any areas need extra attention and will give you pointers about brushing and flossing.
Healthy teeth are important to your overall wellbeing, so it is important to take care of them. Brushing regularly helps prevent the buildup of plaque, which is a film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. This film breaks down tooth enamel and causes cavities. Plaque buildup also causes gingivitis, a disease in which the gums become red, sore, and swollen. An easy way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to make brushing, flossing, and rinsing a part of your daily routine.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, make sure to brush at least twice a day. It is important to brush after breakfast and dinner, and maybe once in the afternoon after a sugary snack or drink. This helps prevent plaque from forming and keeps your teeth nice and clean during the day. Choose a brush with soft bristles that’s small enough to comfortably fit in your mouth. Brush in circles and go slowly, making sure to thoroughly brush the inside and outside of your teeth. It’s best to brush for at least two minutes, spending about thirty seconds on each section of your mouth. Brushing softly is very important! Brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel and cause gums to bleed. And finally: don’t forget to brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue helps prevent bad breath and leaves your mouth feeling fresh.
After brushing at night, make sure to floss. Flossing is the best way to remove the leftover food particles from between your teeth. Although it feels strange at first, after the first few times it’ll be just as easy as brushing. Finish up your nighttime routine with a mild rinse that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to protect tooth enamel and prevent cavities from forming.
Another great way to keep your teeth healthy is to watch what you eat. Sugary snacks and sodas are terrible for your teeth and cause plaque to build up. The bacteria in your mouth love sugar, so be sure to brush after eating a snack. Sipping soda all day is also a bad idea, because the sugar will cause cavities to form between your teeth! If you need to have something to drink throughout the day, water is always the best choice.
Although wearing braces can make your dental routine tricky, remember that it is extra important to take care of your teeth at this time. Make sure to brush after meals and carefully remove any leftover food particles that may get stuck in your braces. Flossing can be tricky while wearing braces because you have to be careful not to pull too hard around the wire-just take your time and proceed very carefully. Dentists recommend using a “Christmas tree brush,” which is specially designed for cleaning between brackets and wires. A good fluoride rinse is also important because it will loosen the bits of food that are stuck in hard-to-reach areas.
There are certain foods that should be avoided altogether while wearing braces. Chewy candy, corn on the cob, pretzels, apples, and other hard foods can cause your braces to loosen or become damaged. Most other foods can still be eaten as long as the food is cut into small pieces.
Taking care of your teeth is fun and should be an easy part of your daily routine! Just remember to drink lots of water, avoid sugar, and see a dentist regularly. Enjoy your beautiful smile!
Check out these links to learn more about the importance of dental health:
- To Tell The Tooth: Interactive Game
- Printable Dental Health Maze (PDF)
- Learn About Teeth
- No More Nasties! Brushing For Kids