When you lose a baby tooth, it’s cool. You put it under your pillow, I fly in when you’re asleep, and you wake up to some cash. You’re welcome. But if you lose one of your permanent teeth, you won’t be seeing me around any time soon. Instead you’ll be using that money to visit a cosmetic dentist who will charge you an “arm and a leg.” Ironic, but not cool.
So let’s talk about some tooth brushing basics. Here are the most common questions I get:
How often do I need to brush my teeth?
Three times a day! Your parents’ and your dentist’s super-fantasy-dream-day wish is that you’d brush your teeth after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner. OK, not after dinner, after dessert. If you eat dinner/dessert early in the evening and have a snack later on, you should also brush your teeth a fourth time. When you don’t, the bacteria in your mouth has all night to chip away at the strength and health of your teeth.
If you are brushing the right amount of times each day, you need to make sure you are also brushing the right way. The most important thing is to be gentle with your teeth. Don’t brush really fast and really hard. Instead, relax and make sure you got each section of your teeth brushed and clean. Check out these cool videos on YouTube for great teeth brushing tips:
When is the best time to brush my teeth?
Any time you brush your teeth, your teeth get cleaned. So, we don’t want to overthink things too much. But if you really want to optimize the time and energy you put into brushing regularly, then you should wait 30 minutes after each meal before you brush.
The reason for the waiting period is because many of the foods we eat and drinks we drink have acid. For example, your morning orange juice or the piece of fruit you ate for dessert (yes, fruit for dessert is a thing) are highly acidic. If you brush right after eating them, you are brushing those acids into your teeth, which chips away at enamel.
If you have to brush your teeth immediately after eating, I suggest rinsing your mouth out with some water first. It will reduce the amount of acid in your mouth before you brush. Note to self: I’m one smart fairy.
How long should I spend brushing my teeth?
About 2 minutes. On paper, that doesn’t seem very long. In front of the mirror and over a sink, let’s get real, it feels like forever. And that makes a tooth fairy like me sort of sad. Over and over again I watch kids brush their teeth and they think they’re brushing their teeth for 2 minutes. Well, it’s more like 47 seconds. And that’s just not enough time to get the gunk out.
So here’s my secret … I play my favorite song of all time, which only lasts about 4 minutes. So when it’s half over, I know I’m done brushing. Note to self: I’m really one smart fairy.
You’re still reading? I see, you want to know what my favorite song of all time is. Take a guess!