Say what you will about Easter, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. No holiday screams "candy" louder than Halloween. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) estimated that nearly $2.5 billion was spent domestically last year on the fun-sized Milky Ways, peanut butter cups, Blow Pops, Sour Patch Kids, and such. It's a bonafide dentist's dream! Great for them — not so great for your mouth. The vast majority of us do indeed brush our teeth on a regular basis, though the American Dental Association notes that nearly one-fourth of Americans do not brush at least twice a day. With a massive segment of our population living with untreated tooth decay and almost half our population experiencing gingivitis, it's clear we could be doing a little better on the oral hygiene front. Before you find yourself mowing through mounds of Snickers and candy corn, let's review the basics on how to properly brush your teeth. According to Colgate (which recently launched its new Colgate Total Daily Repair Toothpaste, promising to remineralize weakened tooth enamel and kill bacteria that cause gum disease, cavities, plaque, and tartar), there are some basic techniques for safeguarding your choppers. Here we go: According to Colgate, proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Not sure how long that is? Try setting a timer. Use short and gentle strokes. Give love to the gum line and hard-to-reach back teeth, as well as areas around fillings, crowns, and other restoration. Start with the outer surfaces of the upper teeth, then move to the lower teeth. Clean the inner surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth. Next, clean the chewing surfaces (the bottom of your teeth). If you want to ensure fresher breath, brush your tongue, as well. As for brush positioning, tilt yours at a 45-degree angle against the gum line and sweep or roll the brush away from the gum line. Use short, back-and-forth strokes as you gently tend to the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
Got it? Good. Now, go have a chocolate binge!