8 STEPS TO A BRIGHTER, HEALTHIER SMILE
To achieve a sparkling smile, you’ll need to treat your teeth to more than just brushing. Healthy teeth start with healthy habits — from your brushing routine to the foods you eat.
Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume, so what you put in your mouth impacts not only the health of your teeth and gums, but also your overall health.
Here’s how to change your daily habits to get the bright, healthy smile you want;
- Avoid enamel damage. The layer of protective enamel on your teeth is your first defense against cavities, but certain foods and drinks such as sodas, sticky sweets, fruit drinks and sugary snacks strip it away, produces acids that attack the enamel and promotes tooth decay.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods. For good dental health, it’s important to eat foods from each of the five major food groups. This ensures that your teeth get the essential nutrients they need. Calcium, found in dairy products and leafy greens and phosphorous found in proteins such as eggs, fish, poultry, meat, and dairy, are all essential to protect and restore the enamel on your teeth.
- Limit snacks. Too much snacking isn’t only bad for your waistline; it’s bad for your smile, too. Foods eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks because more saliva is released during a meal that helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids that can harm teeth and cause cavities. As some snacking is inevitable, best to choose something healthy such as cheese, veggies, nuts, or fruit.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Smoking and using any kind of tobacco stains your teeth, but it also affects your whole mouth. It causes gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss as well as oral cancer.
- Limit teeth-staining culprits. Coffee, tea, and red wine are some of the biggest culprits for dulling your smile. They have intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the enamel. To help counteract stains, consider using fluoride toothpaste that also whitens teeth, or ask your dentist about whitening treatments to help reverse any damage.
- Drink plenty of water. It’s healthy and free and great for your oral health. It’s one of the best things you can do for your teeth, especially if it’s fluoridated. The fluoride helps strengthen your teeth and ward off tooth decay while the keep your mouth moist, clean and washes away food particles that bacteria feed on.
- Chew sugar-free gum. It’s always beneficial to brush between meals, but if you can’t, chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva, washes away food and other debris and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
- See your dentist regularly. Be sure to get regular cleanings and checkups in order to spot dental problems. Early diagnosis and treatment of dental issues is often simpler and more affordable. It is also important as some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth. Schedule regular checkups with your dentist so your smile is bright, white, and healthy, and to know you’re doing all you can for your teeth.
Dr. Ezra Friedman