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Making Teeth Strong and Healthy

written by: Rose Kivi • edited by: Amy Carson • updated: 9/11/2012

Developing healthy habits when you're young, such as brushing and flossing, will keep your teeth healthy and strong well into old age. Learn more about how to keep your teeth clean and healthy with our habits and how we eat!

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    How to Make Teeth Strong and Healthy

    Teeth - Image Credit: Pdclipart.org If you take good care of your teeth, they can last your entire life. Who wants fake teeth? Not me! Luckily, you will not need fake teeth if you keep the ones you have strong. The better you care for your teeth, the fewer cavities you will get and the stronger your teeth will be. Taking good care of your teeth means brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist regularly and eating healthy foods to make your teeth grow healthy. When you're young, you may not think of these things as important, but if you start healthy habits now you'll be grateful when you are older!

     

     

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    Brush Those Babies

    Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day, to keep them strong and healthy. Ask your parents or dentist to show you the correctToothbrush - Image Credit: Jonas Bergsten/Public Domain 

    way to brush your teeth if you don't know how. Here are some tips for good tooth-brushing habits:

    • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
    • Brush the front and back of your teeth in sections: molars (back teeth), teeth next to the molars and front teeth.
    • Point your toothbrush slightly towards your gums, so that you get both your teeth and gums clean.
    • Count to 30 while you brush each section, to make sure you brush them long enough.
    • Finally, brush your tongue. A lot of bacteria hide in the creases of your tongue.

    After you are done brushing your teeth, run your tongue against your teeth. Do they feel smooth or rough? If they feel rough, they are not clean. That rough feeling is plaque, the sticky substance that contains cavity causing bacteria. If you feel plaque on your teeth, you did not brush good enough. Brush again to get rid of that icky plaque.

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    Do I Have to Floss?

    Floss - Image Credit: ohannes Jensen og tanntråd (Johannes Jensen and dental floss) Illustration by Torill Kove from children's book by norwegian author Henrik Hovland Flossing: nobody likes to do it, but it is important. It may even be the most important part of your tooth cleaning routine. Your toothbrush cannot clean between your teeth. Bacteria hides in between your teeth and if you do not remove it, you will get cavities. Flossing also helps you get rid of the plaque that gets underneath your gums. Plaque under your gums can cause gum disease. Gum disease can cause your teeth to get lose and fall out.

    Flossing is a little tricky at first, so you might want to get some help from your parents until you get used to it. Here are some tips for flossing your teeth the right way:

    • Gently slide the floss between two of your teeth. Slide the floss back and forth, as you gently pull it back out of your teeth.
    • Repeat with a clean piece of tooth floss between each tooth.
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    Rinse Away the Germs

    After you eat, especially sugary foods like candy or starchy foods such as bread, your teeth get dirty. You may not always be near a toothbrush, but you can rinse your mouth out with water. Rinsing your mouth out with water is not as good as brushing and flossing, but it does help to get food and some bacteria out of your mouth.

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    Bye Bye Sugar and Bread

    Who doesn't love sugar? Cake, cookies and candy — yummy! You don't really have to say bye-bye to sugar, but you should not eat too much of it. You are not the only one who likes sugar; cavity causing bacteria also like it. They not only like it, they love it. Sugar is the perfect food for bacteria. Have you ever noticed that after you eat a lot of sugar, your teeth feel bumpy? Remember, bumpy teeth means you have plaque on your teeth. Only eat sugary foods once in a while and when you do, brush afterwards.

    Bread and other carbohydrate foods also feed bacteria. Simple carbohydrates such as white rice and white bread are the worst and cavity causing bacteria love them. Just like sugar, you can eat bread and rice, but you should eat healthier foods more often. Vegetables, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs are much better choices.

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    Say Cheese - The Best Food to Make Our Teeth Grow Healthy

    Your teeth are made of bone. Calcium helps to build strong bones. Milk, cheese and broccoli are some foods that are high inCheese - Image Credit: Pdclipart.org  calcium. Cheese is especially good for your teeth. Cheese builds strong teeth, helps to prevent cavities and helps to build enamel (the outer coating of your teeth). Swiss, Monterrey Jack and aged cheddar cheeses are the best for your teeth.

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    The Dentist

    Are you scared of the dentist? If you are, you are not alone. A lot of us are afraid of the dentist, but we don't have to be. The dentist helps keep our teeth healthy and strong. The good news is that by taking good care of your teeth at home and by visiting your dentist twice a year, you can prevent and catch cavities before they are a big problem.

References

  • Teeth Image Credit: Pdclipart.org
  • Toothbrush Image Credit: Jonas Bergsten/Public Domain
  • Cheese Image Credit: Pdclipart.org
  • Pinkham, Jimmy et. al.; Pediactric Dentistry; Mosby; April 8, 2005
  • Handbook of Pediactric Dentistry; Mosby; July 4, 2003
  • Floss Image Credit: ohannes Jensen og tanntråd (Johannes Jensen and dental floss) Illustration by Torill Kove from children's book by norwegian author Henrik Hovland