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Why Good Daily Dental Hygiene Habits Lead to Better Health Outcomes

Jill Malmgren

Executive Director, America’s ToothFairy

The spread of COVID-19 has caused a lot of disruption, but it has also provided an excellent opportunity to teach kids about the importance of good hygiene  — and that includes dental hygiene.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month; a wonderful time to reinforce this message to children and establish better oral health habits. Just as we remind kids to wash their hands to avoid getting sick, it’s important to make a lasting impression about the importance of oral health to help them establish good hygiene habits that they will stick with for life, including:

  1. Brush your teeth for two minutes, two times each day, especially when you don’t feel well. Regular brushing removes germs from the mouth that otherwise could be inhaled into the lungs, causing infections that can be deadly! Likewise, use a mouth rinse to help kill germs on the soft tissue in your mouth.
  2. Never share your toothbrush with anyone. Toothbrushes can harbor germs and bacteria that can spread to others. This is also why it is important to replace your toothbrush every three months and after you’ve been sick.
  3. Visit the dentist for a check-up two times each year. Mounting evidence suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums is essential to prevent the spread of disease throughout the body as well as to those around you. This is why (even during the pandemic) it is important to keep routine dental visits. Dentists are experts in preventing the spread of germs and are taking extra precautions to keep their patients safe. They are also essential for maintaining good oral and overall health. 
  4. Eat healthy foods to protect your teeth and maintain a strong immune system. Germs love sugar! Avoiding sticky, sugary foods not only helps to prevent cavities and gum disease, but also helps your body fight infection. Be sure to eat tooth-friendly foods like cheese, and whole fruits and vegetables. And if you do indulge in starchy and sweet foods, be sure to brush about 30 minutes later.

Good hygiene isn’t only important when there is a scary virus going around. Healthy daily hygiene habits not only help us have healthier smiles but also help us live healthier lives! 

Visit AmericasToothFairy.org for free educational resources to help kids learn about the importance of a healthy smile.

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