5 Tips for a Healthy Smile
For many people, an ideal smile is a gleaming white, perfect “Hollywood” smile, with a mouth full of pearly white, perfectly shaped teeth. It’s not a bad goal to have, but for dentists there’s a different definition of an “ideal” smile — one that’s healthy!
A healthy smile doesn’t need perfectly shaped or gleaming white teeth. Instead it’s one where the mouth functions, nothing’s in pain, and there’s no infection. Unfortunately, many people don’t have healthy smiles for a variety of reasons, and it’s our job to help them get their mouths in top condition. So here are our tips for achieving a healthy smile:
Brush and Floss At Least Twice a Day
You’ve probably been told this as long as you’ve been alive. You’re probably tired of hearing it! But the number one tip for keeping your mouth healthy is to do your basic daily oral hygiene at home. In fact, if more people were more diligent with their personal oral care, many dentists would find themselves out of a job!
You should ideally brush your teeth prior to eating, or some hours after. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating can actually cause problems, as your saliva is slightly acidic and will have softened the enamel of your teeth. Don’t apply too much pressure and invest in a good brush. And don’t forget to brush your gums!
Many people find flossing to be a hassle and don’t bother, but it really is important. Flossing removes particles of food between teeth that a brush just isn’t going to get to. The longer that food and debris stays there, the more plaque will build on it and the greater the chance of an infection in your gum.
Get Regular Checkups
If you’ve ever been to a dentist, you’ve been told you need to visit once every six months. For some people this might be more frequent, and for some people it might only be once a year, but typically bi-yearly checkups are the recommendation.
Regular checkups are the key to maintaining a healthy smile. During a routine checkup your dentist or oral hygienist will look for any signs of disease or infection you might have missed. If plaque has started to build up around your teeth, they can use special scraping tools to remove it. They can also perform oral cancer checks.
Attending your regular checkups gives you that professional eye to make sure everything’s progressing smoothly, and catch problems before they get serious.
Don’t Wait Until You’re In Pain to Get Checked For Something
Gum disease and tooth infections generally don’t hurt in their early stages. By the time you do start to feel pain, they’ve typically advanced quite a way and more intense treatment will be needed.
Learn the early signs of gum disease and see your dentist when they begin. Red, bruised, or bleeding gums are never normal. When you notice these symptoms, see your dentist. If there’s any unusual sensation in your teeth or gums, see the dentist.
Early intervention can be the difference between a scrape and clean or maybe a course of antibiotics, and a root canal or tooth extraction. It’s really not worth putting it off!
Prevent Teeth Staining Before it Happens …
Healthy teeth aren’t perfectly white unless you get teeth whitening. Instead, healthy teeth will generally be an off-white color. If teeth are going black, it’s a sign of a serious problem.
In-between you’ll have stained teeth. Staining isn’t necessarily harmful to your teeth, but it is something most people want to avoid. The best way to do so is avoid food and drink that will cause stains. The worst culprits for teeth staining are:
- Red wine
That’s not to say you should completely avoid these drinks, but take them in moderation. If you’re the sort of person who drunks multiple cups of tea or coffee a day, you’ll notice your teeth get stained a lot faster than someone who only has one cup or so a day.
… and Whiten Your Teeth at the Dentist!
While teeth being stained might not be much of a health issue, using the wrong whitening system can be one.
Not all teeth whitening systems are created equally. For the best results, visit your dentist. In-chair teeth whitening gives you better results faster under professional supervision. You don’t run the same risk of weakening your teeth as with some store-bought bleaching kits.
If you don’t want to pay for in-chair teeth whitening, most dentists stock take-home whitening kits. These are selected by the dental team for their effectiveness and safety, so you know they’re good to use.
By following these five simple tips, you’ll be on the road to achieving — or maintaining — a bright, healthy smile in no time.