Get Back to Brushing Basics on National Brush Day

All that Halloween candy kids nab on October 31 can have a scary impact on their teeth that lasts long after the ghouls and goblins leave. All those sugary sweets help create plaque that can ultimately lead to cavities and tooth decay.

The best way to keep that plaque at bay is through proper brushing, so some creative minds got together in 2013 and launched National Brush Day to help us remember — and we celebrate it at the perfect time: The day after Halloween, November 1.

National Brush Day is dedicated to reminding kids (and adults!) to practice 2min2x: brushing for two minutes a day, twice a day — typically once in the morning and once at night — to get rid of the built-up bacteria that causes cavities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that tooth decay is at “epidemic” levels in kids with 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 having experienced at least one cavity in their baby teeth.

Why Proper Brushing is Important

Regularly brushing might seem like common sense, but kids aren’t born knowing how to brush their growing chompers — and it’s easy to get out of the habit if their parents aren’t watching them closely.

The impact of improper brushing is pretty sudden and severe, too: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that tooth decay is at “epidemic” levels in kids with 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 having experienced at least one cavity in their baby teeth with another 21 percent of kids age 6 to 11 experiencing cavities in their permanent teeth. Parents also suffer if their kids have bad brushing habits because they have to take time off work for dentist visits and pay extra money to get the cavities filled.

Prevent Cavities Through Proper Brushing

The good news is that many cavities can be prevented through good brushing habits.

The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends that you start brushing your child’s teeth once they start coming by using a children’s toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).

Your kids can take over their brushing once they’re able to properly handle a toothbrush, but you should monitor their progress until they turn eight, teaching them to first place the toothbrush in their mouths a 45-degree angle toward their gums, then:

  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes, first one the outer parts of the teeth, then the inner parts and finally the chewing surfaces.
  • Turn the brush vertically and make several strokes in an up-and-down motion to clean the surfaces of the front teeth.
  • Brush the tongue to remove additional bacteria.

That might sound like a detailed process to teach your child, but it should only take two minutes. The official National Brush Day website even has a printout that you can use to remind — and reward — your kids for regular brushing.

Other Healthy Habits to Remember on National Brush Day

Thorough brushing isn’t the only thing involved in dental care. You should also schedule your children for regular dental cleanings (at least twice a year) and teach them to floss at least once a day.

Flossing helps get rid of bacteria in places a regular brushing can’t touch, like between the teeth. Like with brushing, you should first floss your child’s teeth when they’re young and then transition the job to them once they get a little older.

Join the National Brush Day Movement!

We challenge you to show off your best brushing face on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on National Brush Day, along with the hashtag #NatlBrushDay. The official National Brush Day website also offers ways to spread the word about healthy teeth, so don’t forget to show off those chompers on November 1!

Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips