“Removing plaque from the mouth keeps teeth and gums healthy, and the best way to do that is by brushing and flossing,” said CDA President Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist on oral health. “It’s important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste as fluoride reduces bacteria levels in the mouth. It also remineralizes tooth surfaces to make them stronger.”
Acording to the CDA, parents should begin a dental hygiene routine with their children at a young age, including wiping baby’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice per day and after eating. Begin brushing children’s teeth with a pea-sized dab of toothpaste at age two.
“Teach yourself and your children to spend two minutes on dental hygiene, twice a day brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once each day to clean between the teeth,” the CDA says. “CDA recommends helping your child brush and floss until they have mastered this skill, usually around age 8.”
“Teaching your children a simple brushing and flossing routine can help them develop lifelong dental hygiene habits to keep their mouths healthy and prevent gum disease,” said Robinson.
As a commitment to practicing good dental hygiene habits, CDA also suggests replacing toothbrushes every three to four months or when the bristles show signs of wear. Worn-out toothbrushes can’t properly clean teeth and could injure gum tissue. It is also important to eat a balanced diet, limit between-meal snacking and drink plenty of water to keep gums hydrated and rinse away food particles that would otherwise stay in the mouth and allow bacteria to grow.
“To keep a healthy mouth and bright smile all year long, remember to maintain your dental hygiene, brush, floss, avoid sugary drinks like soda, and visit your dentist for regular checkups,” the CDA says.
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