10:12 AM

November 1, 2013 is First Ever National Brush Your Teeth Day

By Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer

This is the perfect time to start a good habit that will last a lifetime: Brush 2 minutes, 2 times a day and every day.

Prevention is what helps us have good oral health vs. poor oral health. The single most important thing that you can do to protect your teeth is to brush for two minutes, twice a day, every day of the week.

And you should start to make this a daily routine from the time your children get their first teeth.
Here are some brushing tips:

Always use a soft toothbrush. Be sure the size of the brush allows you to reach all areas of the mouth. Replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months. Once the bristles get worn out, get a new brush. Replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.

Try not to let the brushes of family members touch when you store them on the counter or by the sink. You don’t want to spread bacteria from one mouth to another!

Check out this video to see how to teach your children how to brush their teeth.

Babies to 2 years: Gently wipe the baby’s teeth with a clean damp washcloth. For kids under age 2, use a soft toothbrush and a little water; no toothpaste is necessary. Once teeth are cleaned at bedtime, babies should drink only plain water (no juice, milk or soda).

Children, 2 years to 6 years: Help your children brush their teeth. Hold the toothbrush with them and show them how to clean every tooth surface. Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums. Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes. Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste. All you need is a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 2-6. Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done and not swallow it. Teach them to gently brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

Children, 6 years to thirteen: Once children know how to brush, let them do this on their own, but be sure to supervise to be sure all teeth get cleaned. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste.The goal is to spend 2 minutes to be sure you brush every tooth -- the front, back, chewing surfaces and sides. Teach your children how to floss between teeth and make this part of the nighttime routine.

Teens and Adults: We are all busy with work, school, sports, family -- but that is no excuse for not brushing. Clean your teeth gently but thoroughly for a full 2 minutes, getting at all surfaces and floss between the teeth before you head off for the day (work or school) and finish the day by brushing to remove leftover food in your mouth. Your goal is to remove food that will decay and cause acids that will attack the tooth’s enamel and also to remove plaque that sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can lead to cavities.

Bookmark this website: www.2min2x.org. You’ll find charts that show how teeth develop from babies to young adults. There are free, two-minute videos featuring notable characters from children’s shows and networks, including Sesame Street and Cartoon Network— that kids can watch while brushing. And parents/caregivers can register their mobile phone and get kids oral health tips via SMS messages. Subscribe by texting “BRUSH” to 30364 or by visiting the homepage of 2min2x.org.

And remember this: Simple, repetitive tasks will become habit in just 21 days. Start on November 1 and make it your goal to brush 2 minutes, twice a day, every day. You can do this!

DentaQuest will be tweeting encouragement and reminders all month long. Follow us @DentaQuest