Oral bacteria feeds on sugar; in fact, sugar is oral bacteria's natural food source. Diets low in starches and sugar can help starve oral bacteria. Instead of eating processed foods with additives and simple carbohydrates, consider preparing more meals with fresh vegetables and lean proteins for the entire family. Also, try to limit your children's snacking between meals to keep mouths clean and healthy between brushings. Another easy way to reduce sugar intake is to swap out carbonated and sugary beverages for water. Exchanging sugary drinks for water not only helps starve bacteria, but it also helps rinse the mouth.
Even though we’ve been brushing and flossing our teeth for years and years, many of us are surprised to learn that we’re not doing it properly. Case in point: Did you know that proper brushing takes at least two minutes? Most adults do not come close to brushing that long.
HOW TO BRUSH?
When you brush your teeth, your goal is to remove as much plaque as possible. Plaque is a bacteria-filled, translucent substance that coats the teeth and gums. Removing plaque by brushing helps keep teeth healthy and cavity-free. You and your children should brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes. During brushing, you should brush the inside, outside and top of every tooth with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush your teeth gently, however, because rigorous brushing can irritate the gums. Don't forget to brush soft tissues as well, including the gum line and your tongue, to remove as much oral bacteria as possible.
1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.
2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.
3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.
4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.
5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.
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