What’s the one thing you remember most about a person when you first meet them? It’s their smile. This is one of the reasons we see so many people requesting a teeth whitening. But there is much more to a healthy smile than white teeth. You can follow designer whitening techniques, or you can try orthodontic treatments to straighten teeth or veneers to repair damaged or discolored teeth. But the real truth to ensuring a healthy and beautiful smile is to simply take control of your oral health. Here are 7 simple steps you can take from the comfort of your home to improve the health and look of your smile.
Step 1 – Brushing
Sure brushing is obviously the first step to strong oral health. But could you be brushing incorrectly? Dentists recommend a thorough brushing at least twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes. Brushing your teeth on the outside, inside, top and bottom is the only way to insure a complete cleaning. This takes a little longer but don’t sweat it. Work your way up by adding 30 seconds every week until you’ve finally reached that sweet spot of 2 to 3 minutes daily. Brushing the tongue helps improve breath and removes additional bacteria too.
And don’t forget that trusty device the electric toothbrush. It can cover a larger area faster, so you clean more surfaces in the same amount of time. When you brush by hand, you make about 300 strokes per minute. Compare that with the thousands — in some cases tens of thousands — of strokes per minute an electric toothbrush can make. Think about it.
Step 2 – Flossing
So now you’re a tooth-brushing master either manually or by electric. But research shows that brushing your teeth only removes about 50% of the bacteria in your mouth. Shocking, we know. The alternative? Flossing. It’s the only other dental tool you have in your arsenal to fully protect your teeth from the damaging effects of oral bacteria and plaque. Try to floss every day it’s important to remove that unwanted bacteria, plaque and tartar that gathers between those tiny crevices in you teeth. Having a hard time getting motivated? Think about it like this. Every time you floss and brush correctly your breath smells great and your teeth look beautiful. So try to follow-up brushing with flossing you’ll love the results.
Step 3 – Products
Not all dental products are created equal. It’s proven that toothpastes and mouthwashes are both helpful in preventing cavities and keeping your mouth healthy between dentist visits. Look for products whose ingredients you trust and are recommended by your dentist. But if you struggle to brush and floss on a regular basis, no toothpaste will save your smile. For those who stick to their dentist’s directives, the right toothpaste can help prevent gingivitis which is caused by harmful bacteria in plaque that can irritate and infect your gums. Using picks to get those tough areas between your teeth is also helpful but not the only answer.
Step 4 – Whitening
Sure, we all want our pearly whites to be at their whitest, but did you know that not all shades of white are the same for everyone? Each person has a unique and specific color to their teeth, meaning one person’s white might not even be achievable for someone else. Teeth range from off-white to yellow to gray to even brown, no matter how much you take care of them. If you’re determined to whiten your teeth, look for products with safe ingredients first.
Step 5 – See Your Dentist
It is standard to visit the dentist twice a year because brushing and flossing will only get rid of so much bacteria. At a certain point, bacterial growth becomes resistant, clinging to surfaces on and between the teeth, even after the most vigorous brushing and flossing. This is when it’s time to call the professionals and go see your dentist who has specialized tools to manually remove this caked on build-up, making your teeth healthy and clean again.
Step 6 – Watch Your Diet
You can help control the bacterial growth in your mouth by eating better. Oral bacteria feasts on sugar, creating acid as a byproduct that erodes the surface of teeth. Foods that are high in acids, like citrus, tomatoes, and vinegar, directly impact the enamel, making teeth more susceptible to damage. Foods high in starch, like potato chips, breads, and pastas, break down into tiny particles, lodging themselves in the hardest to reach places and feed the bacteria. Maintaining your oral health on a regular basis keeps the growth of bacteria under control. Drinks like sugary soda’s and coffee can also stain, discolor and cause cavities.
Step 7 – Get Your Nutrients
Finally, oral health isn’t just about avoiding bad foods. It’s also about making sure you get enough of the right ones too! Many nutrients impact the strength and longevity of your teeth and gums, like calcium, vitamins A, B, C, and D, phosphorous, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to get a diet rich in whole foods and supplement with top-notch vitamin and mineral products to ensure you’re getting enough of the good stuff.
Follow these seven steps and a healthier smile is just around the corner. Questionable oral health history? There’s no time like the present to take control and ensure that your teeth will be beautiful, healthy and strong for years to come. If you’d like to discuss your family’s oral health please contact us at Northgate Dental. We will be more than glad to help with any advice we can. Or if you prefer, request an appointment instead and we’ll provide a free consultation. Our practice is built around your smile.