Having a bright, sparkling smile is universally attractive and appealing. Proper tooth care not only makes you look better, but it also helps you to avoid cavities, gum disease, and other serious health conditions. Almost everyone knows the importance of regular tooth brushing, but there are few less widespread methods that are equally effective. Here are the most important ways to take care of your teeth and brighten your smile.
Rinse After Acidic Foods and Beverages
“Sugar is commonly referred to as an item that is bad for your teeth, but acidic items can be even more damaging,” said Brian Kinsey, DMD. Energy drinks, sodas, citrus fruits, strawberries, salad dressings, and tomato sauces all contain high acid levels that can slowly erode the enamel on teeth. After eating or drinking anything that is acidic, you should gently rinse your mouth out with water. Avoid brushing your teeth for thirty minutes after acid consumption because this can make acid molecules penetrate deeper and do more damage.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Many people forget that the tooth actually has five surfaces: the front, back, top, and two sides. Tooth brushing only cleans three of these surfaces because the thick bristles of a brush cannot fit in between the teeth to remove bits of food or bacteria. Therefore, it is important to floss your teeth at least once every 24 hours to remove sticky dental plaque before it can harden onto the surface of the teeth. Flossing also helps to remove bacteria that can lurk along the gumline, and studies have found that regular flossing can even reverse the early stages of gum disease.
Smoking tobacco continues to be the leading cause of gum disease which can eventually lead to tooth loss and jawbone decay. It can also cause many other oral issues that negatively affect your smile. The toxic materials in cigarettes make teeth look yellow and stained, and it also interferes with blood flow to the gums. Cigarette smokers tend to have increased levels of tartar and plaque buildup that can cause cavities to develop. Altogether, smoking is incredibly harmful to your teeth and oral health.
Replace Your Toothbrush
This one easy step is often overlooked, but it makes a huge difference. Toothbrush bristles start to wear down in just a couple of weeks, and then you cannot properly clean your teeth. This leaves a sticky coating of plaque that makes your smile look dull, so it is important to always get a new toothbrush every three months.
Avoid Staining Items
There are many foods and beverages that slowly stain teeth over time. The most problematic ones are things that are dark and richly pigmented, such as blueberries, coffee, tomato sauce, red wine, soy sauce, and black tea. If possible, sip beverages through a straw to avoid prolonged contact with the surface of your teeth. You can prevent some staining by brushing your teeth thirty minutes after eating these items to keep the stains from getting set in the tooth enamel.
Have Regular Checkups
A lot of people make the mistake of skipping visits to the dentist office because they think their teeth seem fine. However, this can actually cause a lot of problems in the long run. A small cavity that would quickly be detected during a routine cleaning could eventually cause thousands of dollars in dental bills if left untreated. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone get a cleaning and checkup at least one every six months so that small problems can be quickly fixed.
Get Proper Nutrition
What you eat makes a big difference to the appearance of your teeth. If the body does not get enough calcium to keep bones strong, it will start leaching calcium from your teeth, and this causes teeth to look dull and yellow. Not only do you need to eat enough calcium to keep your teeth healthy, but you should also make sure that you are getting enough vitamin C and D to help the body absorb calcium. Eating crunchy, fresh fruits and vegetables also helps to gently scrub the surface of your teeth, removing stains before they set and making your teeth look shinier and brighter.