Grown-ups and dentists might tell you it’s important to brush your teeth every day because “it helps you have a nicer smile.” But why does it give you a nicer smile? What if you don’t want to show your teeth when you smile -- do you still have to brush your teeth?
Brushing your teeth every day helps you have a nicer smile because it prevents you from getting cavities, which are kind of like small holes in your teeth! (Yikes!) Cavities happen when the bacteria in your mouth don’t get brushed away and have the chance to eat the sugar that also stays on your teeth when you haven’t brushed. When they eat the sugar, they produce acid which then can cause the cavity-holes to form!
If you get a cavity it can be painful, and it might make it difficult to chew and eat your food. Even if the cavity isn’t hurting, the dentist will still usually need to fill it up because it can otherwise get worse. Sometimes the filling a dentist puts in can also be a bit painful before it’s finished, but do your best to remember that it’s preventing you from a lot more pain later one! Hopefully if you brush your teeth regularly you’ll be able to avoid painful cavities and you’ll have a whole lot to smile about!
- Most dentists and doctors agree that brushing twice a day is the right amount – once in the morning and once at night. Some will also advise you to brush after meals when you can. Always listen to your doctor’s advice and follow his or her instructions!
- Another great way to prevent cavities is to floss your teeth. This is usually recommended for once every day and it will help you to get rid of food that might otherwise stay stuck between your teeth!
- Lots of people also brush their tongues when they brush their teeth! This helps to get rid of even more bacteria and is a good way of preventing bad breath.
Chew on this!
You’ve probably noticed that your teeth don’t all look the same. Do you know the names for each of your different kinds of teeth? - They are incisors, cuspids, premolars, and molars.
Why do you think it’s helpful for us to have teeth that are different shapes and sizes, instead of all exactly the same? How would things like chewing and talking be different if all of your teeth looked alike?
Sources & links
“Dental Health: Cavities.” 2007. MedicineNet. 14 Oct. 2009 < http://www.medicinenet.com/cavities/article.htm> “Do you know your teeth?” Kids Stuff. American Dental Hygienists’ Association. 14 Oct. 2009 < http://www.adha.org/kidstuff/index.html> “What are cavities.” Colgate World of Care. Colgate-Palmolive Company. 14 Oct. 2009 < http://www.colgate.com/app/Colgate/US/OC/Information/OralHealthBasics/CommonConcerns/Cavities/WhatAreCavities.cvsp>