Watching children play, observing puppies roll around with their litter-mates or simply watching a beautiful sunset can put a smile on your face. Happy memories of people and places can generate a smile. Keep those smiles bright and shiny and healthy by following our six tips for maximum oral hygiene.
- Oral Care: Brush and floss. Brush at least two times a day and floss daily. Healthy teeth and gums are essential for not only overall health, but also for “smile health”. A nice smile requires clean teeth and healthy gums. Inflamed gums indicate harmful bacteria which can also be extremely detrimental to the health of your heart, so get brushing and flossing.
- Avoid food and drink that can stain your teeth. Some of these are coffee, tea, soda and red wine. If you do consume these, be sure to brush soon after. If brushing is impossible (let’s say that you have coffee at a business meeting and can’t get away to brush), at least rinse your mouth. Even the simple gesture of swishing and swallowing to remove a good part of the food or drink residue will help.
- Teeth are made for chewing and smiling. Don’t take the chance of chipping or breaking your teeth by using them to rip open packages or prying things open. Take a few extra seconds to get a proper tool (scissors or a knife) to do the trick—not your pearly whites.
- Don’t smoke. Don’t chew tobacco. We all know the health dangers of smoking or chewing tobacco (cancer) but smoking and chewing tobacco also stains teeth–not to say anything about causing bad breath. For those concerned about their looks, smoking also ages the skin and causes wrinkles around the lips. So, if lung or oral cancer doesn’t scare you enough, think about your looks.
- Tools. As with most things, there are proper tools or equipment to get the job done correctly. Oral hygiene tools have sure come a long way. Twigs to clean your teeth? According to the ADA (American Dental Association), in the Middle Ages, wealthy Europeans used twigs. To be sure of fresh breath, fragrant wood was used. What about brushing your teeth with bristles from a hog? That’s what was used in China in the late 1400’s. The hog bristle brush (hairs attached to a handle made of bone) also became popular in Europe, but it was expensive so one brush was shared by the entire family. We’ve certainly come a long way!! Electric toothbrushes are about three times the cost of traditional, manual brushes, but we feel that they do a better job. People are more likely to reach all tooth surfaces and brush for a longer period of time when using an electric brush. Flossing is another extremely important component in achieving a healthy, sparkly smile. Flossing gets food particles out from between your teeth–where brushes can’t reach. We like our patients to floss twice a day, but AT LEAST do it once a day. There are so many types of floss on the market. Find one that fits your needs, whether it’s waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored, traditional or floss picks. The important thing is that you floss!!
- Travel kit. Busy schedules shouldn’t keep you from having a healthy mouth and sparkling smile. Put together a Dental Travel Kit. Keep this in your office desk drawer, purse or car. The travel kit should consist of a toothbrush in a holder (manual brush is good for the kit), a fluroide toothpaste (small travel size), dental floss, finger tip brush and floss or floss picks.
These are just a few things to think about when you want to make sure that your beautiful smile stays that way. But remember, if you have “Smile Anxiety” and are afraid to smile because you don’t like your smile, dental professionals can certainly help with this.