Your smile is an important accessory that you wear every single day. For it to look its best, you have to take great care of it on a routine basis. Just like diet and exercise, a healthy, beautiful smile can take some personal dedication and smart choices. Here are five things you should start doing to make sure that your teeth look and feel great:
Reassess Your Tooth Brushing Habits
Maybe you’ve never been prone to getting cavities and have always had relatively lighter teeth. But the older you get, you notice your smile start to dull. Are you brushing as often as you ought to? Stain accumulation from coffee and wine can gradually cause your teeth to look darker and older than they used to. You may even start to see your gums receding or looking a bit red.
Invest in a good electric toothbrush and use it at least twice a day. If you can, brush after lunch at work. Take care to slow down and clean your teeth for the full two minutes. Harder, faster scrubbing can actually miss more plaque than an electric brush that’s focused on one or two teeth at a time.
Makeup with Your Dental Floss
We know you hate to floss. About 99% of other adults do too! The simple truth is that flossing is a vital part of keeping your smile clean. How else can you physically remove food debris or plaque that’s wedged between teeth and under the gumlines?
Try floss picks or holders to make it easier, if necessary.
Mouth rinses aren’t a substitution for flossing. While they can help to reduce swelling and improve your breath, they aren’t an actual aid that can physically remove sticky buildup.
Still not convinced? Consider investing in a water flosser. Sure, they can be a little bit messy at first, but once you get used to them you’ll be able to clean between your teeth and along the gumlines without any string floss — period. They can even flush out underneath your fixed bridge or around braces.
Pay More Attention to What You’re Drinking
Liquids can cause more harm than food or candies, simply because of how easily they coat the teeth and find their way into deep grooves. Drinking lots of fluoridated tap water can keep your teeth cleaner throughout the day as it rinses away food debris and biofilm.
But if you like to sip on that tall glass of sweet tea every afternoon, or you’re taking a few coffee breaks every day, that liquid exposure time begins to accumulate. The hidden sugars and acids in your favorite drinks can start to match away at your enamel and lead to sensitivity, discoloration, and decay. Each sip you take leaves about 30 minutes of active acids inside of your mouth.
Everyone deserves to splurge on their favorite soda now and then. When you do, try drinking through a straw, having your drink with a meal (so that the liquid doesn’t sit on your teeth for so long) and rinsing with water afterwards.
Dental Problems are Not Going to Get Better by Themselves
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away”? If you have, you’re not the first. While this strategy sometimes works with things like a bruise or strain, it doesn’t on a tooth.
Consider, for instance, a small leak in your roof or a tire that’s starting to wear down. The daily wear and tear that they’re exposed to will eventually result in a bigger — and more expensive — problem that needs to be fixed.
It’s the same with your teeth. Addressing minor sensitivities or twinges of discomfort early is the best way to preserve healthy tooth structure and limit any out of pocket expenses that you spend on treatment.
Schedule a Checkup and Cleaning with Your Dentist
Finally, the best way to proactively keeping your smile healthy and looking its best is to see your dentist regularly. Don’t wait until problems pop up, because there will likely be several issues you don’t know are even there by the time one of them starts hurting. For most individuals with healthy teeth, you want to schedule a preventive cleaning and checkup at least every six months to stay on top of things.
Are you putting off your dental care because your employer doesn’t offer insurance? Check into an affordable alternative, like a dental savings plan. Cigna Dental Plans offers enrollees a savings of 15-50% off select dental procedures when they see a dentist who is part of our discount network. Contact us and start saving today!