After Halloween, celebrate National Brush Your Teeth Day
For the second annual National Brush Your Teeth Day on November 1, parents and kids alike are encouraged to make time for a healthy two-minute scrubbing following Halloween. There's no better time than now to begin a good habit that will last a lifetime: brush twice a day for two minutes each session.
Be sure to remind yourself of the "two-and-two" rule. While most Americans brush for less than 50 seconds each time, a solid 120 seconds can work wonders for your oral health - not to mention kick bad breath to the curb.
No one's hiding the fact that this new oral hygiene holiday lands immediately after the sugar free-for-all: Halloween. When eaten, sugar combines with some of the mouth's worst bacteria - namely Streptococcus mutans - to create plaque that erodes teeth. According to the Department of Agriculture, Americans consume about 6 pounds more sugar in a year than they did in 1970, and Halloween is not exactly helping.
Dentists highly recommend that after trick-or-treating, youngsters should brush their teeth prior to bedtime. Just be sure to wait 30 minutes following the candy craze to clean those pearly whites. If you brush too soon, the bristles may actually damage dental enamel that might have been softened by acids in candy.
Here are some additional suggestions for National Brush Your Teeth Day:
- Use a soft toothbrush. When buying a toothbrush at the store, look for "soft bristles" on the packaging.
- Swap out toothbrushes every two to three months.
- Replace your toothbrush after you've been sick. Otherwise, illness-related bacteria may linger on the bristles.
- Try not to let the brushes of family members touch when you store them by the sink or on the counter.