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Everybody knows it’s important to brush and floss. But if your kids ask why it’s important, do you know how to answer them? Or do you just scamper off with a lame response like ‘because I said so’?

Your kids look at you as the expert in, well, everything. So in today’s blog post from the office of Dr. Ghina Morad, DMD, in San Carlos, CA, we’re going to look at some of the cornerstones of good oral health. From flossing to regular dental visits, all of these things are important, and we believe you should be able to convey that message to your children.

1. Flossing is Really, Really Important

“People who smoke cigarette, they say ‘You don’t know how hard it it is to quit smoking.’ Yes I do. It’s as hard as it is to start flossing.” – Comedian Mitch Hedberg.

Kids may not understand that joke, but you may. Despite it being hard to begin a flossing regime, it’s actually one of the best things you can do for your teeth.

Regular brushing alone only reaches about 60 percent of your teeth’s surface. You need to floss in order to reach the other 40 percent. Flossing is one of the only ways to remove plaque from in between your teeth; even though you can’t generally see plaque, it’s there, causing your teeth to decay.

Americans will commonly attempt to use a toothpick to do the work of floss after a meal; toothpicks are actually the most common thing that Americans choke on. Don’t choke, just floss!

Consider making a game of it, and flossing with your children. The best way to lead, is to lead by example.

2. Mouthwash Really Does Work, But Not Alone

Most mouthwashes contain fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your teeth; helping them retain important minerals and preventing cavities from forming. Mouthwash can also help remove bacteria from your mouth, lowering your chances of gum disease.

However, using mouthwash alone is never enough. So even if your kids beg you to just let them go to bed without brushing this one time; you shouldn’t let them get off the hook with just rinsing their mouths.

Mouthwash will mask bad breath, but it is not effective unless you pair it with regular brushing and flossing to maintain good oral hygiene. Only using mouthwash is a bit like using perfume instead of showering. It may mask smells for a time, but is not an effective approach in the long run.

For your kids, you can make it into a superhero metaphor. Mouthwash is like the Robin, to Brushing and Flossing’s Batman. Robin can’t fight crime alone without Batman or the Teen Titans, because the Joker and Two-Face are stronger than him. Mouthwash alone isn’t strong enough to fight off cavities. (Find a different metaphor if your children have ever read the “Nightwing” series of comic books.)

3. Brush For At Least Two Minutes At a Time, Twice a Day

Everyone knows it’s important to brush, yet surprisingly many Americans don’t spend enough time brushing. Fluoride in the toothpaste needs time to be effective; simply brushing and then rinsing is akin to shampooing your hair by putting soap on top of your head and then quickly rinsing it off. You wouldn’t stop washing your car halfway through the process, and the same should be true of your teeth!

It’s especially important to instill this information in children as they grow-up. One way to do so in to play a song for them, and tell them to brush until the song is over. Using a good brush is also important. You should plan on replacing your toothbrush every three to four months as bristles wear out.

4. Visit Your Dentist, At Least Twice A Year

During a dental exam, you will be screened for oral diseases such as gum disease and oral cancer. Many oral diseases exhibit no outward symptoms, which makes it vital to visit the dentist and have them checked for.

In addition, routine dental cleanings help remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Plaque and tartar wear down your teeth’s enamel, allowing decay to thrive. Regular brushing and flossing alone is not enough to reach all plaque or to remove tartar. Regular visits to the dentist’s office keep your smile shining bright and keep you healthy.

Make An Appointment

Family Dentistry is just that, a family affair. At the office of Dr. Ghina Morad, DMD, in San Carlos, CA, we want to keep the smiles of your whole family looking great. Click here to schedule an appointment.