8 Secrets of Healthy Smiles

Ever seen someone with a beautiful smile and wondered what her secret was? It might be more basic than you think.

8 secretsSecret 1: A Regular Routine. There’s no getting around brushing and flossing twice daily. Good home care is the only way to prevent plaque buildup, other than regular dental checkups (see next point).

Secret 2: Regular Dental Check-Ups. Current guidelines recommend seeing a dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months. Your dentist can apply fluoride, administer sealants, and look for any warning signs of gum disease and tooth decay.

Secret 3: Good Technique. Slant your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently move it in a circular motion – rather than a back-and-forth motion – for a minimum of two minutes. Don’t forget to clean your tongue too.

Secret 4: The Right Tools. Be sure both your toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months and rinse it thoroughly after you brush – you don’t want to transfer bacteria to your mouth!

Secret 5: No Abuse. Using teeth for odd jobs – like tearing something open or uncapping a bottle – can lead to chipping, fracture, and other trauma. Bottom line: don’t use teeth as tools!

Secret 6: Good Nutrition. A balanced, low-sugar diet can go a long way in protecting your teeth. Foods that are firm and crisp – like apples, celery, and carrots – can actually help clean teeth as they’re eaten.

Secret 7: A Good Rinse. If you can, take some time to rinse your mouth after eating. A swig of water will dilute the acid that attacks your tooth enamel every time you eat.

Secret 8: Being Proactive. Be sure to see your dentist immediately if you have any problems, such as a tooth sensitivity, a toothache, or a sore. Usually the sooner you can treat a problem, the better.