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Health > Kids > Teeth healthy

How to Keep teeth healthy

Teeth are important in many ways. If you take care of them, they'll help take care of you. Strong, healthy teeth help you chew the right foods to help you grow. They help you speak clearly. And yes, they help you look your best.

Kids can take charge of their teeth by taking these steps

Brush at least twice a day - after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush after lunch or after sweet snacks. Brushing properly breaks down plaque.

Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Brush away from your gums.

Take your time while brushing. Spend at least 3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play a recording of a song you like to help pass the time.

Be sure your toothbrush has soft bristles (the package will tell you if they're soft). Ask your parent to help you get a new toothbrush every 3 months. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it's time to change them.

Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon you'll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and up along the gum line. The floss gets rid of food that's hidden where your toothbrush can't get it, no matter how well you brush.

It's also important to visit the dentist twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean, and he or she can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.

It's not just brushing and flossing that keep your teeth healthy - you also need to be careful about what you eat and drink. Remember, the plaque on your teeth is just waiting for that sugar to arrive. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda.


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