Manzano Day School

Joy in Learning® Since 1938

Nurses' Notes: How to Care for Your Teeth

So, how do we prevent tooth decay? To keep teeth pearly white and healthy for life, follow these simple steps:

STEP 1: Remove the plaque. The best way to remove plaque is to brush your teeth. To remove all the plaque, brush your teeth at least twice a day and if possible, after meals and snacks.

STEP 2: Best way to brush teeth: The most effective way to brush your teeth is to brush teeth gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Place your tooth brush at a 45 degree angle against the gums. Brush every exposed tooth surface in a gentle massaging motion. Also, brush your gums and tongue to freshen your breath. An effective brushing takes two – three minutes. The enamel on your teeth is thin and your gums are very sensitive. Vigorous scrubbing with a hard or stiff-bristle tooth brush can cause the thin enamel to wear away leaving your teeth sensitive. Brushing too hard can also damage your gums. Replace your toothbrush regularly as tooth brush bristles wear out.

Use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps to make teeth strong and prevent cavities. Use a pea size of toothpaste. It is not a good idea to swallow toothpaste, and make sure to rinse it out. There are many types of tooth paste. Use one that will encourage regular brushing.

STEP 3: Floss teeth. 35% of your tooth surface, the area between your teeth and under the gum line, will not be cleaned unless you floss. Daily flossing is the only effective way to remove plaque in these areas.

STEP 4: Best way to floss. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind the floss around one of your fingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into your gums. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a "C" shape against the tooth and glide it into the space between the gum and tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth and rub the sides of your tooth. Do this for each tooth.

Remember, to prevent tooth decay, brush and floss.