We all know someone who can light up any room with their smile. Smiling seems to come more naturally to some people than others, but like any habit, it gets much easier if you do it regularly.
A smile is one of the most effective ways to brighten your mood and make your face look more attractive. A healthy and natural-looking smile can create a great first impression and make people feel more relaxed around you. If you have a beautiful smile, you will have better self-confidence, as well.
Here are our top 10 tips to create a better smile that lasts a lifetime.
- Practice makes perfect.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink less coffee, tea and red wine.
- Buy a high-quality toothbrush.
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Take good care of your gums.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Choose whitening products carefully.
- Improve your overall health.
- See your dentist twice a year.
If you’re not used to smiling regularly, practice your grin in front of a mirror – especially right before an important event like a job interview or a first date. The mirror will show you how it looks when you sit or stand with good posture and smile confidently. You can also turn your head at various angles to find your “good side,” or whatever position looks the most naturally flattering.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs – it is also bad for your oral health. Smoking is linked to tooth stains, gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.
The nicotine and tar in tobacco can sink into tooth enamel, staining teeth yellow within a very short time. Many heavy smokers find their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking. Smoking also causes people to have more dental plaque and leads to more frequent and severe gum disease than non-smokers experience.
Dark-colored beverages like coffee, tea and red wine are also notorious for staining teeth. Like smoking, these drinks can build up a shallow stain your dentist or hygienist can polish off, but they can also create deeper internal staining of your tooth enamel.
Drinking through a straw can help reduce the stain on your teeth and may help reduce the risk of tooth decay. It can also help to rinse your mouth often with water, so the dark liquid does not have a chance to sink into your teeth.
You may think electric toothbrushes are a needless indulgence, but electric toothbrushes have been clinically proven to get rid of more plaque and improve gum health better than standard manual toothbrushes.
Many top-quality electric toothbrushes have different modes, such as whitening and sensitive teeth. The toothbrush bodies are durable and will last for years, while you can change out the toothbrush heads every three months, or as they wear out. The size and shape of your brush should fit comfortably inside your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily.
If you’re not willing to pay the extra money for an electric toothbrush, be sure to buy a manual brush with soft bristles. While it’s easy to assume medium and hard-bristled brushes are better for your teeth, dental professionals advise against using them. The stiffer bristles can wear away tooth enamel and also cause gums to recede.
This advice should be a given, but many people still are not in the habit of brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, at least twice a day. Because plaque can harden into tartar, frequent brushing helps teeth stay whiter and healthier than in people who brush less often.
For a healthier mouth and smile, the American Dental Association approves the following technique:
● Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
● Gently move the brush back and forth in short, tooth-wide strokes.
● Brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
● To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, turn the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
You can have the most beautiful teeth in the world, but if your gums aren’t healthy, it will take away from your smile. Don’t neglect to take care of your gums as part of your good oral care habits. After you brush your teeth, floss and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash every day.
Water is the best drink for your smile and your body. It helps rinse food residue and bacteria from your mouth, and discourages tooth decay. Because it is fluoridated, tap water is the best choice for your tooth health.
If your teeth have yellowed with age, you have a dizzying array of whitening products to choose from, including toothpastes, gels, strips, custom and over-the-counter trays, rinses and laser whitening. Each type can have specific benefits that help you target problem areas.
For example, whitening toothpastes and rinses can help coffee and tea drinkers remove superficial staining. Custom trays and laser whitening are professional-strength solutions that offer the most dramatic results. When in doubt, ask your dentist or hygienist for recommendations.
Because your oral health and physical health are so closely linked, conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even stress can affect the look of your smile.
Rather than ignoring your symptoms, you can help improve your health through preventive methods. Eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise and sleep can dramatically improve the appearance of your body, teeth and gums.
If left untreated, even a small cavity can quickly go from a minor nuisance to a major problem that leads to tooth decay throughout your mouth. Schedule cleanings and check-ups with your dentist every six months – a dental professional can catch signs of tooth decay and treat it early, before it has a chance to become widespread.
Practicing good preventive oral health helps maintain the stability of your teeth and means you’ll need less invasive dental treatments in the future.
Good Habits Lead to a Great Smile
Even small changes in your oral hygiene routine can make a big difference in your appearance and self-confidence levels. And while a beautiful smile doesn’t happen come overnight, you’ll agree it’s worth the time and effort to invest in your overall health.