You may get a little frustrated with your parents when they remind you to brush your teeth all the time — and wonder why they make such a fuss!  But the truth is that your parents fuss about brushing your teeth for the same reason they fuss about eating good foods and going to bed at bedtime: they want you to be healthy!  Read on to find out more about the right way to brush your teeth — and about what it is so important to your health.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is a skill — and it is important to develop this skill as you grow up to keep your mouth healthy.  At first, your mom or dad may help you when you are little until you are old enough to do it yourself (usually, you’ll be able to brush your own teeth by the time you start going to school).

Here are some tips to follow for a bright and healthy smile!

  • Help your mom or dad pick out a kid-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head that fits easily into your mouth
  • You don’t need a ton of toothpaste to do the job — put a drop of toothpaste about the size of a pea before brushing.
  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle from your teeth and brush gently, using short strokes or a circular motion.
  • When you brush, start with the outer parts of your teeth, then do the backs and your molars (the teeth that are farthest back in your mouth). Brush your tongue last: there are a lot of germs living on your tongue!
  • Take your time: it should take you around 2 minutes to clean your teeth thoroughly.
  • Brush at least 2 times a day — but no more than 3. Too much brushing can wear away the enamel on your teeth.
  • Electric or regular toothbrushes are both okay — it’s your choice!

Why is Brushing Teeth Important?

Brushing teeth is important because it keeps them strong and healthy — and helps you to avoid serious conditions with your gums and mouth.  This may sound pretty gross, but you — and everyone else — have ton of bacteria in your mouth. When you eat food, the bacteria gets to eat, too, and when the bacteria start to break that food down, acids are formed that break down the enamel, the smooth white covering of the teeth which protects them.  The holes that the bacteria form are called cavities and they will need to be filled by a dentist and they can be very painful.

There are other things to worry about apart from cavities. If bacteria are not brushed away regularly, they will form a thin film over the teeth and this film will harden into something called plaque.  Plaque, in turn, can lead to a disease called gingivitis, where the gums become swollen, sore and inflamed — and eventually this can lead to loss of teeth. Gum diseases and infections can also cause infections in other parts of your body — including your heart.

Other Tips to Follow to Brush Your Teeth

Apart from brushing your teeth, there are other things you can do that can help keep your pearly whites healthy.  Great tips for a healthy smile include:

  • Learn how to floss your teeth and make it a part of your daily routine.
  • Ask your dentist if it is ok to use mouthwash.
  • Eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and drink lots of milk: the calcium in the milk will keep your teeth strong.
  • Avoid sugary foods like candy: sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and can lead to cavities.
  • Stay away from fruits juices, pops, teas and other stuff that has a lot of acid in it; this can also break down the enamel.
  • Have your parents take you to the dentists twice a year. The dentist will sit you down in a big chair in his office and ask you to open your mouth so that he can take X-rays, special pictures of your teeth that will tell him if you have any cavities. He will also clean your teeth really, really well with special instruments and also give you a fluoride treatment, which will help keep your teeth healthy and reduce the risk of cavities. Your first trip to the dentist may seem a little scary at first, but you will get used to it and it will prevent a lot of problems later on.

So now you know what tips to follow to brush your teeth the right way — and why taking care of those teeth are so important! So even though it might seem like hassle, brushing every day and keeping your teeth strong and clean is an important part of being healthy as you grow up.