What defines a great smile? Public opinion may vary but cosmetic dentists define great smiles as a healthy balance between white teeth and light pink gums. You can think of a healthy smile as a visible snapshot into the overall health and well being of an individual.
So, if we know that first impressions matter, and our smile is a big part of that first impression, what can be done to enhance the beauty of our smile? And more importantly, what can be done to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime?
Keeping your teeth for a lifetime is achievable but it requires diligence, repetition and commitment on your part.
8 tips to keep your teeth for a lifetime
Build a transparent, authentic relationship with your dentist. Not all dentists are created equal. While we are all medically trained, you need a dentist who focuses on proactive dental health, rather than reactive care. The relationship you have with your dentist is as important as the relationship you have with your primary care provider; it can be life changing and life saving.
Use a fluoride-based toothpaste. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day is the non-negotiable when it comes to dental health. It’s the essential element in fighting against gum disease and tooth decay.
Rinse frequently. It may seem out of your normal routine, but rinsing after eating, drinking and snacking matters. Rather than letting food particles and sugar sit on your teeth, rinsing removes the remaining food or plaque particles that begin to build up.
Stop ignoring the recommendation to floss. Flossing daily catches the particles that brushing cannot. Without flossing you are letting bacteria slowly build in your mouth and breakdown your teeth.
Switch your toothbrush regularly. Changing the toothbrush you use three to four times a year is important, and it’s best to switch to an electronic or soft toothbrush. Brushing your teeth harder doesn’t mean you are solving the problem.
Commit to maintaining a healthy diet. Sticking to foods that are low in sugar is your best option for healthy gums and teeth. Foods that are processed or have high volumes of sugar inevitably lead to decay because of the bacteria and acid that begin to form when sugar breaks down.
Quit using tobacco. The impact of tobacco on our lungs is talked about frequently, but tobacco equally harms your mouth. Studies have shown that nearly 50 percent of smokers have some form of gum disease. Those who use tobacco products are twice as likely to lose their teeth, and those who use smokeless tobacco significantly increase the likelihood to one day have cancer in the cheeks, gums or lip lining.
Commit to bi-annual, in-office dental visits. Bi-annual dental cleanings for both children and adults are vital to keeping a healthy smile. Maintain your dental regiment at home, but also commit to two yearly, in-office dental visits. Those visits, with the right dentist, are a chance to think proactively about your dental health. It’s an opportunity to put protective measures in place. Use those visits to ensure your teeth can maintain their healthy status for a lifetime.