November 1!  It’s National Brush Day!  What a better day than today for your favorite Chicago neighborhood dentists at Chicago Ave Smiles to start blogging!

It’s not a coincidence that National Brush Day comes one day after the candy-focused holiday known as fun and scary spooktacular Halloween!  There is no time more important that right now to remind our children of good nutrition and oral hygiene habits at home.  Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S.?

While it may be difficult to completely eliminate these sugary candies this time of year, we should realistically be able to consume them in moderation and under parental supervision.  Take the pledge to help keep kids’ mouths healthy by brushing #2min2x a day!

Visit 2min2x.org to get fun 2-minute videos to entertain your children while they brush!  Which one is your child’s favorite video?

Text “BRUSH” to 30364 to receive children’s oral health tips on your cell phones via SMS messages!  (Your carrier’s messaging rates will apply.)

Some other great Halloween tips for parents from the Chicago Dental Society [source: CDS Dental Dateline]:

  • Know how much candy your child has collected and store it somewhere other than the child’s room.  Have it so close can be an irresistible temptation for many children.
  • Be a role model for your children by eating Halloween candy in moderation yourself.  To avoid temptation, buy the candy that you plan to distribute at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.
  • Consider an exchange:  allow your child to pick out his favorite candies from his haul, and then “buy” his leftovers.  You might be surprised at what your child will give up in exchange for a trip to his favorite store or more time for a favorite activity!
  • Eat treats with meals.  Saliva production increases during meals, flushing out food particles and helping to neutralize cavity-causing acids.
  • Grab a piece of sugarless gum after meals.  Certain sugarless gums have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance for scientifically proving that chewing the gum (try with xylitol) for 20 minutes after meals helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Think of each piece of Halloween candy as a reminder to follow the 1-2-3s of good daily oral hygiene.  Floss once a day, brush twice a day, and eat three balanced meals a day!  You might also offer some alternatives
  • Offer some alternatives to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door!  Consider offering non-food treats like stickers, temporary tattoos, little bottles of bubbles and small games, tiny decks of cards, or crayons (visit a party supply store!).  You could also offer healthier snacks instead, such as pretzels, small boxes of cereal, or sugar free gum.

Do you have any great ideas that you’d like to share with us?  Please let us know!  We are always happy to hear great and creative ideas from our readers!

Scheumann Dental Associates | Kids Don’t Want To Brush?

Kids Don’t Want To Brush?

If your child doesn’t like to brush, try this awesome website: 2min2x.org

Brush 2min2x

Help your kids brush their teeth 2min2x — 2 minutes each time, twice a day — for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems. The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends that you help or watch over your kids’ brushing until they’re 8. Once your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.

Tooth To-Dos

  • Encourage your kids to brush with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 3-6, and use slightly more when they’re older.
  • Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done so they don’t swallow it.
  • For kids under age 3, as soon as your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
  • Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums.
  • Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
  • Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth.
  • Teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

The Right Toothbrush

Kids should use a soft toothbrush. The size and shape of the brush should allow them to reach all areas of their mouth.

Replace toothbrushes every three to four months, sooner if the bristles are worn out or if your children have been sick.

Attack Plaque!

Plaque is a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can lead to cavities.

Visit a Dentist

Kids and parents – it’s important to visit your dentist regularly your whole life, starting no later than age 1. Seeing a dentist regularly is important for good oral health. Dentists can detect small problems before they become bigger, more painful problems. Your child could have oral health problems you don’t know about like cavities or gum disease.

  • Birth – 3 Years Old3 – 6 Years Old6 – 12 Years Old6 – 12 Years OldDecay Prevention Tips17 – 21 Years OldSave the fairy tale kingdom with your toothbrush!Features:Sponsor OrganizationsTaking Care of Your MouthVisiting A DentistAdditional ResourcesJust For KidsAbout Children’s TeethOther InformationAbout BrushingAbout Visiting a DentistFor Parents of Infants and ToddlersAbout FluorideGood Oral Health is Important to Maintaining Good Overall HealthAdditional ResourcesAll info can be found at 2min2x.org

Regular Teeth Cleaning by Dental Professionals

  • Getting your kids’ teeth cleaned regularly is a great opportunity for them to learn the best way to take care of their teeth.
  • Regular teeth cleanings can help prevent gum disease, which can cause the loss of kids’ permanent teeth.
  • Teeth cleanings remove tartar. Tartar makes it hard to clean teeth.
  • Cleanings get rid of stains that can’t be removed with brushing and flossing.
  • The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends taking your kids to see a dentist no later than their first birthday. Learn more about your child’s first visit. WATCH VIDEO

Learn more about BABY TEETH and KIDS’ TOOTH DECAY.

Floss Every Day

Kids should clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss or flossers to remove plaque and food where a brush can’t reach. Kids’ teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.

Teach Your Kids How to Floss

  1. Break off about 18 inches of floss (the length from a fingertip to your elbow) and use it to floss younger kids’ teeth, or teach older kids how to do it themselves.
  2. Wind most of the floss around a middle finger. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will wrap up the used floss as it becomes dirty.
  3. Make sure your child holds the floss tightly between their thumbs and forefingers.
  4. They should guide the floss between their teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
  5. Then they should curve the floss into a C shape as it gets closer to their gum and gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  6. They should hold the floss tightly against the tooth, and gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss or flosser away from the gum with up and down motions.
  7. Repeat this process for each and every tooth.

Use Fluoride

Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and occurs naturally in water and some foods. To help protect teeth from cavities, fluoride is added to dental products like toothpaste.

  • How does fluoride protect teeth?
  • Why use fluoride toothpaste?
  • Should kids use fluoride toothpaste?Under 3 years oldAges 3-6 years oldAges 6+

Fluoride helps make your kids’ teeth stronger, which helps prevent decay. It also stops early stage tooth decay. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste gets the fluoride right onto the surface of teeth. When fluoride is on teeth, it helps strengthen teeth enamel.

Also, teeth get fluoride from water that’s been fluoridated, other beverages and some foods, which also helps make tooth enamel stronger.

Tooth brushing helps remove plaque, but only fluoride toothpaste helps remove plaque and strengthen tooth enamel.

When your kid’s teeth start to appear, even if it’s just a few teeth, brush them using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.

Place a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush and brush your kid’s teeth 2min2x (2 minutes, twice a day). Help young kids brush their teeth and teach them to spit out the toothpaste. They shouldn’t swallow it.

Make sure your child is able to brush his teeth himself and knows not to swallow the toothpaste. Continue to be a good role model by supervising them when they brush 2min2x – 2 minutes, twice a day.

Watch & Brush!

Moms and dads – try using these fun two minute videos to keep your kids brushing for 2 whole minutes twice a day. Videos even have their favorite characters, including Adventure Time!

Videos can be found here: http://2min2x.org/watch-brush/

About Kids’ Teeth

We have two sets of teeth during life: 20 temporary baby teeth and 32 permanent adult teeth.

The 20 baby teeth that will appear in the first 3 years of your baby’s life are already there at birth, in your baby’s jawbones. Baby teeth are key for chewing, speaking and appearance. They also hold space in the jaws for upcoming adult teeth. Even though they fall out, your child’s baby teeth are important, and you need to take good care of them.


Baby Teeth and Teething

Baby teeth usually appear when your baby is between 6 months and 1 year old. The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends a dentist examine your child no later than their first birthday. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to deal with any issues like THUMB SUCKING.

Baby Teeth and Teething Tips

  • When babies are teething, they may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal for a teething baby. If your baby has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your doctor.
  • Babies may get sore or tender gums when their teeth cut their gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can soothe them. A clean teething ring may also help.
  • When baby teeth break through the gums, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
  • Begin regular dental checkups no later than your child’s first birthday for “smile insurance.”

Baby Tooth Decay Is Real

As soon as teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your baby to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.

Keep Baby’s Gums and Teeth Clean

Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. This removes plaque and food, and helps your baby become used to having his or her gums and teeth cleaned – and it will make tooth brushing easier later on.

Once your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.

Baby Teeth Are Important

Kids need strong, healthy baby teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for permanent teeth.

If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it’s time for the other permanent teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded. Starting your babies off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for life.

Baby Teeth Decay

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they show up– usually around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers usually occurs in the upper front teeth, but it can also occur in other teeth. In some cases, infants and toddlers have experienced decay so severe that the teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed. The good news – decay is mostly preventable.

What Are Cavities?

Causes of Decay

Tooth decay begins when cavity-causing bacteria are passed to an infant. For example, if you put your baby’s spoon or pacifier in your mouth and then put it in your baby’s mouth, cavity-causing bacteria are passed to the baby.

Another cause of tooth decay in babies is frequent or long exposure to liquids that contain sugar, such as fruit juices, soda or other sweetened liquids.

To Bed Without a Bottle

It’s also important to put your baby to bed WITHOUT a bottle. Sugary liquids from a bottle pool around the teeth while the child sleeps. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After these attacks, the teeth can decay.

Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey or sweetened liquids can also lead to tooth decay since the sugar or honey can provide food for the bacteria’s acid attacks.

From around ages 3 – 6, most children have all 20 baby teeth come in.

Protect your kids’ teeth by brushing for 2 minutes, 2 times a day with a fluoride toothpaste.


Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

Sucking is natural for babies. Whether it’s their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects, sucking helps babies feel secure and happy. Young children may also suck to soothe themselves. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may help them fall asleep.

When Should It Stop?

Usually kids stop sucking their thumbs between 2 and 4 years old, or by the time the adult front teeth are ready to break through their gums.

After your kid’s permanent adult teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of their mouth and teeth alignment. Vigorous thumb sucking may also cause problems with baby teeth. If you notice changes in your kid’s baby teeth, please talk to your dentist.

Using pacifiers at a later age can be as much of a problem as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it’s usually an easier habit to break.

Tips to Stop Thumb Sucking

  • Praise your kids for not sucking their thumbs. Don’t scold them for sucking them.
  • Children often suck their thumbs when they feel insecure or need comfort. Focus on why your child is anxious and comfort your child.
  • For older kids, involve them in choosing how to stop. Your dentist can offer encouragement to your kids and explain what might happen to their teeth if they don’t stop sucking their thumbs.
  • If these tips don’t work, remind your child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night.
  • Your dentist or doctor may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or suggest the use of a mouth appliance.

From around ages 6 – 12, children gradually lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth start to appear.

The first adult teeth to come in are molars. These first molars are important because they help shape your child’s face and affect the position and health of the other adult teeth that are about to arrive.


From around ages 6 – 12, children gradually lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth start to appear.

The first adult teeth to come in are molars. These first molars are important because they help shape your child’s face and affect the position and health of the other adult teeth that are about to arrive.


Prevent Kids’ Tooth Decay

You can prevent tooth decay for your kids by lowering the risk of your baby getting the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Make sure you take good care of your baby’s teeth – this reduces the number of bacteria in your baby’s mouth.

  • Don’t share saliva with your baby by sharing spoons, licking their pacifiers or pre-chewing their food.
  • After each feeding, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. This will remove plaque. When your child’s teeth begin to break through the gums, brush them gently with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and water.
  • Once your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
  • Brush your children’s teeth until they are able to do so themselves, usually around age 8. Then, supervise their brushing to make sure they brush thoroughly 2min2x (2 minutes, twice a day) and spit out the toothpaste afterward.
  • Place only formula, milk, breast milk, or water in baby bottles. Infants should not be put to bed with a bottle.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, give them one that is clean — don’t put it in your mouth first or dip it in sugar, honey, or other sweetened liquids.
  • Encourage your children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and don’t let your child sip all day from a training (sippy) cup with sweetened beverages.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Serve nutritious snacks to your kids and limit sweets to mealtimes.
  • Make sure that your kids get the fluoride they need. Discuss your kids’ specific fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician.

The last teeth to appear are wisdom teeth at around ages 17 – 21. By age 21, all 32 of the adult teeth have usually appeared.



A balanced diet helps keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay. To learn more, watch the video “Your Diet and Your Teeth.” WATCH VIDEO

  • What is a healthy diet for my child?
  • How can my children’s diet protect their teeth?
  • Should my kid give up all foods with sugar?
  • Does a balanced diet mean my kid gets enough fluoride?

A healthy, balanced diet has all the nutrients your child needs to grow and includes the following major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

First, be sure they’re eating a balanced diet, limiting between-meal snacks and limiting how frequently they have food or beverages with sugar. Sugar is in more than just the sugar bowl and candy. Lots of foods contain one or more types of sugar, and all types of sugars can cause tooth decay. Sugar can be found in many processed foods, such as cookies, crackers, cereals and soda. Sugar is also often found in condiments like ketchup and salad dressings.

No way! You simply need to select and serve them wisely. A 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 sugary and starchy foods. Sticky foods, like potato chips, raisins and other dried fruit and candy are not easily washed away from your kid’s teeth by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential. Talk to your dentist about serving foods that protect your kid’s dental health.

No. A balanced diet does not guarantee the proper amount of fluoride for the development and maintenance of your kid’s teeth. If you do not live in a community with fluoride in the water or have the right amount of naturally occurring fluoride in your well water, your child may need additional fluoride. Talk to your dentist about your kid’s specific fluoride needs.

Toothsavers Brushing Game

An evil sorceress has cast a wicked spell, leaving everyone’s mouths to rot and be overrun by cavities. Now it’s up to you to help Toothy and the Toothsavers save everyone’s teeth!

You’ll have two minutes to brush and scrub away the spell for each of the kingdom’s quirky inhabitants. From the Dragon to Little Red Riding Hood to the Pirate, only you can help them clean their teeth.

Save your own teeth by brushing them with each Toothsaver for two minutes, twice a day. They’ll help make brushing fun. And for every few days you brush, you’ll unlock a new Toothsaver to brush with. Brush for 30 days and you’ll have the chance to defeat the evil sorceress herself!

And be sure to brush your friends’ and family’s teeth using the two-player Toothsaver mode. Keep your whole family clean with Toothsavers!

  • 10 colorful characters with their own fun toothbrushes and food particles to brush
  • Use swipes and taps to clean each character’s teeth in each two-minute session
  • Up to three stars awarded for brushing each character well
  • 10 different two-minute animations to make brushing in real life fun
  • 10 colorful cartoon teeth that animate to your voice in two-player mode
  • An interactive map to chart each day and night you brush with Toothsavers
  • Earn new characters by brushing two minutes, twice a day with Toothsavers
  • Parents’ section allows parents to designate daily brushing times and monitor their child’s brushing progress on a calendar
  • Parents can connect on Facebook and post whenever their child reaches a brushing milestone

Toothsavers is brought to you by the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives as part of its Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign. The campaign aims to motivate parents to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure their kids are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day.

Learn more about the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and its 35 partner organizations.

Helpful Resources

Here are some additional resources to get you kids brushing:

Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives

Additional Information from the

American Dental Association and the California Dental Association

Additional Information from the

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Additional Information from the

American Association of Orthodontists

Additional Information from the

American Academy of Periodontology

Additional Information from the

Academy of General Dentistry

Additional Information from the

Oral Health America

Additional Information from

Sesame Street