2018 is finally here! It is a time for looking forward, and for making our New Year’s Resolutions. Though “Lose Those Extra Holiday Pounds” are at the top of most of our lists, let’s take a moment to focus on another goal that can really improve your overall look – creating a beautiful smile. Here are a few steps to easily achieve that goal.
Have routine dental cleanings. A cleaning every six months promotes good oral health. Skipping cleanings may lead to periodontal disease. Because many health conditions manifest themselves in the mouth, your general dentist and hygienist can make you aware of issues that need your attention.
Make sure to brush correctly. Toothbrush bristles should be at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line, with light pressure. Gently make small strokes, focusing on only one or two teeth at a time. This will keep gums healthy and remove the most plaque.
Get a new toothbrush. Good quality electric toothbrushes have been shown to remove more plaque and achieve healthier gums than standard manual brushes. If an electric brush is not in your budget, be sure to purchase a soft bristled manual brush. Stiff bristles and aggressive brushing causes gums to recede and can wear enamel away from the teeth.
FLOSS! Flossing removes plaque between teeth and out from under the gumlines, where toothbrushes can’t reach. Daily flossing helps prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. And, there’s no comparison to the fresh, clean feeling you get after flossing.
Give up cigarettes. Smoking causes staining to your teeth and it also damages healthy gums, causing them to recede and develop large pockets around the teeth. And you know the other health benefits!
Limit coffee, tea, and red wine. Okay, this is tough one, too. Similar to smoking, these drinks can build up a superficial stain that your dentist or hygienist can polish off. But they can also cause internal staining of your tooth enamel. Water is the healthiest drink for your smile and your body. It helps flush teeth clean and discourages tooth decay. Tap water is the best choice as it has the recommended dosage of fluoride. Frequent consumption of acidic or sugary drinks can increase decay rates dramatically. You may be interested to learn that athletes are quickly becoming an at-risk group as sport drinks take a toll on their teeth.
Dental conditions never correct themselves. Tooth decay left untreated can easily transform a small cavity into a large abscess. Where a tiny filling may have been all that was needed, inattention to a small problem might mean there’s a root canal or a crown in your future. And, if left untreated, decay can spread to other teeth and may cause infections throughout the rest of your body.
Next time you’re in my office, let’s discuss your overall dental health and which are the best practices for you to achieve a truly beautiful smile.