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Every time you eat something, bacteria in your mouth release acids that attack the enamel on your teeth and cause bad breath. If this happens repeatedly, it can lead to a buildup of plaque – a clear, sticky film that forms on the surface of your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay and hardened plaque can turn into tartar. Plaque can also irritate your gums and cause gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth loss. To maintain good oral hygiene, it is very important to remove plaque by brushing your teeth daily. Toothbrushing removes food debris and plaque from the surface of your teeth and keeps your gums clean, which in turn prevents cavities and gum disease. Ideally, it should be complemented by flossing daily and rinsing with an effective mouthwash.

How to brush your teeth effectively

Here are a few tips for how to brush your teeth effectively:

  • Brush at least twice a day, in the morning after breakfast and again at bedtime
  • Wait at least an hour before brushing if you have had an acidic food or drink, since the acids weaken the enamel and brushing too soon can damage it
  • Brush gently with very short, horizontal strokes across the tooth surface and gum line
  • Do not press to hard, since this can cause the gum line to recede
  • Hold the toothbrush like a pen to avoid putting too much pressure on it
  • Spit out the toothpaste when you are done and do not rinse with water, since that will dilute the effects of the fluoride
  • Replace your toothbrush promptly when the bristles start to show signs of wear and tear

How to brush your child’s teeth

Tooth decay is one of the world’s most common health problems and it frequently occurs in children and teenagers. Unfortunately, children who have a lot of cavities early in life are more likely to have them as adults. Since toothbrushing is the best way to avoid cavities and maintain good oral hygiene, you should establish it as a daily routine as soon as your child’s first teeth emerge. Choose a child-sized brush with a small head and soft bristles. Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste to protect your child’s teeth against caries. Children need their parents to help with toothbrushing until they are old enough to do it properly themselves, usually around age 7.