Brushing Twice a Day: Fact or Fiction
Brushing twice a day: fact
— Brush your teeth! As parents, we've all taught (or fought, or forced, or begged...) our kids to do it, but toothbrushing isn't as simple as it seems.
Toothbrushing requires dexterity, fine motor skills, and the ability to stick with a routine. That’s why we recommend that parents brush their kid’s teeth until the child is at least 8 years old. But again, easier said than done, we know.
As dental professionals, one question we often get: “Is it really so bad if my child skips a brushing—or two?” Unfortunately for stressed out parents, the answer is yes. Here’s why a two-a-day schedule is worth the hassle:
Plaque grows back every 12-48 hours.
After we eat, some food fragments inadvertently remain in our mouth. Eventually, those particles combine with saliva to form dental plaque, a sticky film that coats our teeth and contains bacteria, many of which are harmful to our oral health. The oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis, for one, can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed, a condition known as gingivitis. Another bad-news bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, the culprit for cavities.
Dental plaque grows back amazingly quickly, too—within 12–48 hours of brushing your teeth, research shows. That’s why it’s so important to regularly remove plaque by brushing and flossing morning and night.
Gum disease can be silent.
Unlike cavities, a child with gingivitis doesn’t often experience pain, so parents may not even know their child has irritated gums. In fact, more than 50% of adults in the U.S. have gingivitis, and they may not experience any pain or discomfort until the condition progresses.
Gum irritation caused by poor oral hygiene as a child can lead to a condition known as periodontitis in teenagers and adults. Different from gingivitis, periodontitis isn’t reversible and can cause permanent damage to the bone surrounding your teeth.
Cavities often require lifelong maintenance.
A patient once asked me, “What’s the big deal if I get a cavity? Can’t the dentist just fill it?” Sure, a dentist can fill it, but a dental filling will never be as good as your natural teeth. It will likely need to be replaced every 10-15 years or so, to ensure its strength and integrity—and prevent further decay. Therefore, a childhood cavity can mean a lifetime of maintenance (and dental bills).
Let Willo do the work.
Willo is the first tooth-brushing robot for kids. This automated system cuts down on user error and safely, consistently cleans teeth in an entirely new way, making it perfect for children who struggle to reach every tooth when brushing on their own. Willo helps remove plaque and sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy oral-care habits.