Holiday sweets bring reminder to brush, floss

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season are just around the corner, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and Ad Council have teamed up for a campaign to promote oral health. This Partnership for Oral Health is designed to raise awareness of children, parents and caregivers about oral health.

Some of the recommendations found online from the AAPD at or the Partnership for Oral Health at are:

• Remember to brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes.
• Parents and caregivers should help or watch over their kids’ tooth brushing abilities until they’re at least 8-years-old.
• Children should use a soft toothbrush that allows them to reach all areas of their mouth.
• Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are worn out, or if your children have been sick
• Children also should clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss or flossers to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach. Teeth can be flossed as soon as two teeth touch each other.
• Plaque is the sticky film of germs that forms and collects on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that is not removed by brushing twice a day can lead to cavities.
• Visit your dentist regularly your whole life, starting no later than age one. This is important for good oral health.
• As soon as teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your child to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth. Brush for two minutes, twice a day.
• Fluoride helps fight cavities and is found naturally in water and some foods. Fluoride is added to dental products like toothpaste to help protect teeth from cavities.
• Taking good care of a child’s teeth reduces the number of bacteria in their mouth that can cause tooth decay.
• A balanced diet helps teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.
• A sugary or starchy food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugar and starch.
• Sticky foods, like potato chips, raisins and other dried fruit and candy are not easily washed away by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential.
• Talk to your dentist about serving foods that foster good dental health.

Stuart D. Josell, DMD, MDenSC
Chair of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
East Carolina University
School of Dental Medicine