Caring For Your Teeth
How often should
I brush my teeth?
Brush your teeth twice a day. You also
should brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove bacteria
lingering there. This will help get rid of bad breath too!
How often should I floss and
Floss between your teeth once a day. Flossing is
important to good dental health because it removes pieces
of food that get stuck between your teeth and under your gums, reaching
places your toothbrush can't.
What foods should I eat to help keep
my teeth healthy?
Eat a variety of foods from the five
major food groups (grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and meats). Avoid
sugary snacks, such as candy, cookies and chips and sugary beverages
such as soda, sports drink and juice. Learn more about proper nutrition.
Is soda bad for
Soda is high in sugar. Even “sugar free” or diet soda
contains acid that is bad for your teeth. When you are thirsty, choose
water or milk.
What is fluoride?
a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, protecting
teeth from decay. When combined with proper oral care (brushing,
flossing and regular dental check-ups), fluoride greatly reduces dental
decay. Dentists often recommend fluoride treatments or supplements when
the community’s water supply is not fluoridated.
should I wear a mouthguard while playing sports?
Mouthguards are required for high-contact sports like
football, hockey and boxing. However, dentists strongly recommend them
for any sport where contact or collision may occur, such as basketball,
soccer and wrestling. A properly fitted mouthguard can prevent most
sports-related tooth and mouth injuries and may even prevent concussions
by acting like a shock absorber between upper and lower teeth.
Inside Your Mouth
teeth do I have?
Most children have all 20 baby teeth by
age three. Permanent teeth push primary teeth out of the way, causing
them to fall out. By about age 14, all primary teeth have been replaced
by 28 permanent teeth. Learn more about your teeth.
The teeth in my mouth are
different shapes and sizes. What are the different types?
Your mouth consists of incisors, canines, premolars and
molars. Learn what each type is used for.
What's inside a
Enamel protects the inside of the tooth by acting as a barricade. Dentin
is located underneath enamel to protect the pulp and is a substance
similar to bone. Pulp contains each tooth’s nerve endings and the
blood vessels that bring nutrients to the tooth. View a diagram.
What are gums?
the pink part above your upper teeth and below your bottom teeth.
They are the tissue that surrounds your teeth.
Going to the Dentist
How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist every six months. The dentist can remove
plaque and tartar from the gumline. You may have X-rays taken which
can uncover hidden problems and check developing
What if I’m afraid of visiting the
Don’t be scared. The dentist is a friendly doctor that will help
keep your teeth and gums healthy. Try picturing the dentist chair as
your very own space shuttle on a secret mission to attack plaque. If you
are still scared, talk to your parents and your dentist about any
questions you have about going to the dentist.
Cavities and Plaque
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in your
tooth that is caused by tooth decay.
What is plaque and why is it harmful?
Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that collects on the
teeth and between the teeth. It develops when foods containing sugars
and starches are left on teeth. The bacteria produces acids which
destroy tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Brushing and flossing
regularly removes plaque and fights decay.
Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease (also called periodontal
disease). If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, which can
only be removed by a dentist. When tartar settles along the gumline, the
gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets, allowing bacteria to
attack teeth roots. To help prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease,
remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, eat nutritious
foods and visit the dentist regularly (at least twice a
Braces and Sealants
Why would I need
braces and how do they work?
Braces help to straighten
teeth that are crooked by putting constant pressure on your teeth. If
your dentist says you have an overbite, it means your upper jar is
bigger than your lower jaw. If your lower jaw is bigger, your dentist
calls this an underbite.
The wires on braces help to move your teeth, while the rubber bands help
fix the alignment of your teeth (how your teeth line
What are the different types of braces?
There are a variety of different types of braces, including
clear braces, braces the same color as your teeth or braces that go
behind your teeth. The rubber bands used with braces come in a wide
variety of colors, so choose your favorite color or even change colors
I wear braces. Do I need to avoid certain
If you wear braces, avoid eating foods that are hard or sticky, like
popcorn, hard or sticky candy and gum.
What is a dental
A dental sealant is a plastic material that a
dentist may apply to one or more teeth to help prevent cavities.