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Taking Care of Your Teeth

Flashing a mega-watt smile isn't easy for everyone, but it can be, as long as you keep your pearly whites lookin' pearly and white!

Teeth - Why Brushing Is Important

You may think brushing your teeth every day is a pain in the butt, but regular brushing is what prevents the buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is soft, sticky and clear so you can't see it. But it coats your teeth, attracting bacteria and breaking sugar down into acids that eat away at tooth enamel, causing cavities! Untreated plaque turns into tartar, which is a hardened form of plaque that's hard to remove. Plaque also causes gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. It makes your gums swell, turn red and even bleed!

Teeth - How to Keep Your Teeth in Top Condition

No one likes going to the dentist, but everyone still has to go for checkups every six months. In the meantime, here's how to give plaque the brush-off!

  • Brushing - Brush your teeth in an up and down motion twice a day for at least two minutes. That's about the length of one song, so tune into your iPod or MP3 player while you brush. You should also brush your gums and tongue - it destroys the bacteria that gives you funky-smelling breath.
  • Toothpaste and Toohbrush - There are a lot of toothpastes made just for kids, like those fruity-flavored ones, but make sure you choose one that contains fluoride, which keeps teeth strong and prevents cavities. As for toothbrushes, dentists recommend you use a soft-bristled brush cuz it's gentler on your teeth and gums.
  • Flossing - Flossing cleans where brushing can't - between your teeth and under the gumline. You should floss at least once a day, using a back and forth motion, and only go as far as the gumline (forcing it under the gums may cause bleeding).

Teeth - Did U Know?

  • Toothbrushes were invented in China around 1600.
  • 60% of 15 year-olds have gingivitis, but it can be easily treated by taking proper care of your teeth.
  • Sports and energy drinks can be worse for your teeth than Coca-Cola because they contain more acids, which dissolve calcium. So the next time you're dying for a sports drink, reach for a glass of water instead. It's better for you and won't destroy your teeth!
  • National Smile Week is observed during the second week of August. It was created to promote dental health and maintain a beautiful smile. The best way to celebrate Smile Week is to do just that - smile!
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