It’s more than a coincidence that America celebrates National Brush Day on November 1, exactly one day after bidding adieu to Halloween. After binging on candy for so long, naturally, everyone is obsessed with getting their kids’ teeth back in shape. While brushing is definitely the most effective way of cleaning our teeth and keeping them free of bacteria and plaque, too much of a good thing can also turn out to be a problem. Let’s check out some good practices for kids to keep in mind while brushing their teeth. For good measure, we have a couple of bad practices avoid when brushing our teeth.
Brushing the teeth immediately after a meal or candy can end up causing more harm than good. Tooth enamel tends to soften when we eat something, and tends to stay that way for at least thirty minutes after that. During this period the enamel is at its weakest and can get easily scraped away along with bacteria and plaque. This National Brush Day, don’t rush your children into brushing their teeth immediately after they eat, be it candy or food. Wait for thirty minutes so that the enamel gets a chance to sufficiently harden.
Not only do tooth brushes made of hard or stiff bristles damage the dental enamel, they also cause pain and bleeding of the gums. Damaged gums can loosen their grip on the teeth and children could end up losing teeth too. So, avoid hard-bristled tooth brushes for your kids.
For the cleaning action to be effective, your children must understand that they need to invest at least 2 minutes in brushing their teeth. This amount of time is required to ensure that the teeth is sufficiently exposed to the cleaning action of the toothbrush.
Cleaning the teeth with a brush involves more than a couple of left-right and up-down motions of the toothbrush. For starters, we need to hold the brush angled at 45 degrees against the gums. Follow this with a series of back-forth strokes on the teeth. Methodically clean the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces and the chewing surfaces of the teeth with the same gentle motions.
After they’re done with the visible tooth surfaces, get your children to attend to the inside surfaces on the back of their front teeth. Remember that a number of dental complications like caries usually originate on the back surface of the front teeth. Cleaning them effectively completes a proper tooth brushing ritual not just for National Brush Day but for every day, twice a day. Good brushing is gentle on the gums and dental surfaces but tough on bacteria and plaque.
If the ‘one size fits all’ rule doesn’t apply somewhere, you can be sure it’s when you’re choosing a toothbrush for your kid. Your child’s toothbrush must neither be too big nor too small in relation to the mouth. It should be the right size so that it doesn’t cause discomfort and can also easily reach all parts of the mouth to clean the teeth properly.
Lastly, a trip to the dentist after before or after National Brush Day for tips won’t hurt!