One of the first things people notice about you is your smile speaks and it speaks volumes without saying a word. Your personality, sense of humor, and even your attitude toward life can all be gauged from your grin. A nice smile is also a sign of good health, and good health is instantly attractive. Why else would so many people be getting their teeth whitened and straightened?
As effective as those beautifying procedures may be, they’re certainly no substitute for oral health. The good news, however, is that if you take care of your teeth, they will reward you with a gleaming, natural smile. With that in mind, here are 8 simple tips you can use to improve your oral health.
1. Floss Daily
On a list of your least favorite things to do, flossing may fall somewhere between cleaning gutters and giving your cat a bath. In other words, it’s an unpleasant experience nobody much likes. That said, it is the one and only way to get to the plaque between your teeth, the plaque that causes periodontal disease. Some of the symptoms of periodontal disease? Tooth loss and bone destruction. So, no matter how messy or inconvenient it may be, floss your teeth at least one a day. You won’t regret it!
2. Brush Twice
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Unfortunately, only one in five Americans follows that advice. Why? Because most of us brush in the morning and only in the morning. We do this because we know bacteria grows more rapidly when we sleep. It is only logical then to brush a second time, right before bed, to get rid of the bacteria that has built up throughout the day from food.
3. Less Coffee, Tea & Red Wine
Certain liquids are able to penetrate the enamel of your teeth and stain them from the inside out. It is for this reason that teeth whitening is only moderately effective on patients who drink these beverages on a regular basis. Because of their popularity and staining ability, coffee, tea, and red wine have ruined countless grins. The only reliable way to avoid discoloration is to enjoy these drinks in moderation. It may also be a good idea to have your teeth polished every six months to remove any unwanted buildup.
4. Quit Smoking
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but here’s yet another reason to say goodbye to cigarettes—they’re bad for your teeth! Smoking not only stains your once pearly whites permanently, it also increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. It is no wonder smokers lose their teeth at more than double the rate of nonsmokers.
5. Purchase a Quality Toothbrush
How is it possible that most people give more thought to picking out shoelaces than they do to buying the right toothbrush? One obvious explanation is that they don’t know what they should be looking for—so we’re going to tell you! You should be shopping for a soft-bristled brush that won’t irritate your gums and is small enough to get to every area. Steer clear of brushes with stiffer bristles, since they can cause gums to recede and may even damage tooth enamel.
6. Drink Lots of Water
About 60% of your body is water, but you still need more of it every few hours. For your oral health, tap water contains fluoride that helps prevent plaque buildup and discourages tooth decay. H2O also helps remove food deposits that may get stuck in and between teeth. According to the experts, the average person should drink at least 10 glasses of water each day.
7. Limit Your Sugar Intake
After tobacco, sugar is oral health enemy #1. The sweet treat actually fuels a chemical reaction that attacks the enamel of your teeth, which is why it causes cavities. That said, a little sugar every now and then is perfectly fine, perhaps even healthy. Our advice? Avoid sugary foods and beverages throughout the day. Save them for dessert instead!
8. See Your Dentist/Hygienist Twice a Year
When plaque deposits harden, they form a calcified substance that cannot be removed by regular brushing alone. These deposits not only contributes to tooth decay, they can also migrate below the gumline and attack the bones that hold your teeth in place. As a result, tartar is one of the leading causes of tooth loss the world over. The only way to remove tartar buildup is to have a dental professional perform a deep cleaning using special tools and techniques. No matter the state of your oral health, cleanings should be scheduled every six months.
Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, but only if you take proper care of them! Using these eight simple tips, you can improve your oral health and get a dazzling, attractive smile in the process. Not a bad deal.