Candy and sweets are fun to eat, but too many treats can take a toll on dental health. And when it comes to celebrations that are all about the sugar, families can do some damage control with a check-in to make sure everyone’s dental health routine is up to par.
“National Brush Day is Nov. 1, and it’s an excellent opportunity to clean up from Halloween sweets, learn more about dental health and perfect your brushing technique,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota, American Dental Association (ADA) spokesperson.
For a healthy mouth and smile, the ADA offers the following tips and recommendations.
Purchase Proven Products
One great way to celebrate National Brush Day is with a new toothbrush. It could be time for a new one, anyway. The ADA suggests replacing toothbrushes every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t clean as well. Soft-bristled brushes also protect your teeth and gums.
Talk to your dentist about which types of dental products will be most effective for your family, and also be sure these products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal lets you know they meet strict ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.
“You get a check-up when you go to the dentist. Think of the Seal like a check-up for your dental products,” says Dr. Sahota. “A team of dental experts evaluates each product to make sure it is safe and effective for you and your family.”
Look for the Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, water flossers, mouth rinses, chewing gum and other oral hygiene products.
Search products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance at MouthHealthy.org/ADASeal.
Consistency is Key
Brush teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you’re brushing for a full two minutes each time!
It can be tempting to let kids skip brushing after a long day or during times when the normal schedule is off (like vacation or a holiday), but keep at it. That’s how you form a healthy lifelong habit.
“Your children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile,” says Dr. Sahota.
Tooth decay-causing bacteria linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Cleaning between your teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Limiting how much sugar you eat and drink also makes cavities less likely. The harmful bacteria in your mouth eat the sugars you consume and produce acid, which can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.
While sugar is often a given on Halloween, National Brush Day is a great way to make a fresh start. Take the opportunity to reinforce the habits that lead to healthy smiles.