Four Simple Steps to a Beautiful Smile

 Azarko Marketing  Thursday, September 25, 2014

Do you worry that you're not putting your best smile forward? If you're trying to keep your teeth clean and your smile bright, but still constantly hide your mouth behind your hands or flash only a tight-lipped smile for family photos, it might be time to give your smile some beauty treatment. Follow these tricks and tips to give your smile the comeback it deserves.

1. Brushing Basics

The first step to a more beautiful smile is making sure you brush your teeth. Most of us brush at least once a day, but did you know you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day? Go beyond the bare minimum by implementing these ideas:

  • Find the right-sized toothbrush. You don't want a toothbrush too big for your mouth – you shouldn't have to strain your jaw while brushing. Choose a smaller brush with a comfortable handle.
  • Choose soft bristles. Many toothbrushes come with firm, straight bristles, which can be hard on your gums. Contrary to popular belief, brushing harder with firmer bristles doesn't help your mouth: it actually hurts it by pressing back your gums, allowing infection to creep in. Choose the softest bristles you can find for a pain-free cleaning.
  • Brush for long enough. Remember the twice a day for two minutes rule – three a day might even be optimum, as long as you brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush correctly. Don't brush your teeth with long, sideways strokes. Instead, you should angle your toothbrush at a forty-five degree angle to your gums so you don't run the risk of damaging them. Brush up and down rather than across, and stroke in circles, not horizontally.
  • Clean your toothbrush. Unless you rinse off your toothbrush immediately after brushing, the bacteria you just scrubbed from your teeth will stay on the bristles, where you'll re-introduce them to your mouth the next time you brush. Keep bacteria out by rinsing your toothbrush after each cleaning.
  • Get a new brush. It's important to invest in a new toothbrush around every three or four months. If you wait longer than that, the bristles will wear out, and you won't get the cleanest clean possible.
2. Correct Flossing

It can be easy to justify not flossing your teeth every day – flossing might irritate your gums, or seem to take longer than brushing, so you might skip it more often. The truth is, flossing and brushing should go hand in hand for maximum effectiveness.

So how exactly should you floss? The Canadian Dental Association recommends starting with a long reel of floss, and wrapping most of it around one finger on your non-dominant hand. The rest should wrap around the same finger on your other hand.

Move from tooth to tooth, guiding the floss with your thumb and forefinger. Be gentle, but thorough, as you move up and down against the side of each tooth. When you reach the gums in between each tooth, floss in a c-shaped motion that follows your teeth's contours. Unreel the floss as you continue to floss between each tooth.

The good news is that if flossing seems to irritate your teeth, the more you floss, the less irritated your gums will be. If they continue to feel sensitive after you've established a regular flossing habit, it's probably time to see your dentist.

3. Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods are worse for your teeth than others. If you want a brighter, whiter smile, restrict your access to some of these foods and beverages:

  • Sugary drinks, like sodas, sports drinks, or energy drinks
  • Hard candy
  • Citrus foods or beverages
  • Coffee and tea
  • Alcohol

You don't have to completely eliminate most of these classes of food from your diet (though we would all benefit from fewer sodas and candies). If you want to hang on to your candy and soda habits, though, try to eat or drink these sugary substances faster - don't suck or sip on them. The faster you drink or eat them, the less time your teeth spend doused in cavity-creating sugars.

Rinsing your mouth out after eating a citrus fruit can help prevent decay. So can incorporating citrusy foods into a larger meal instead of eating them on their own.

Coffee and tea can cause tooth staining, so make sure to brush well every morning and night and visit your dentist for a regular tooth polishing that can remove many of those stains. Also, limiting your alcohol consumption, and balancing it out with water, greatly cuts down alcohol's mouth-drying effects.

4. Add Other Foods

Don't despair! Some foods are bad for your teeth, but others can boost their beauty and whiteness instead of destroying it. Consider adding some of these foods:

  • Dairy products, such as milk and cheeses
  • Proteins, such as nuts and chicken
  • Crunchy, firm fruits and vegetables with a high water content

Dairy and protein give your teeth the minerals they need to build tooth-protecting enamel, keeping your teeth naturally strong. And foods with high water content can stimulate saliva production, which naturally fights bacteria in your mouth.

Some water-heavy foods like strawberries even act like natural bleaching agents, and broccoli prevents other foods from staining your teeth.

Staying Healthy, Staying Happy

When you take care of your teeth, you're on the road to a brighter, more beautiful, and more confident smile. Follow these good oral hygiene habits for a happier mouth! Contact your Azarko dental professionals for more info on effective dental hygiene.