7 Steps to a Healthy Smile
When I was young, I felt very self-conscious about my smile. My teeth were very crooked and it required my wearing braces to straighten them. I did everything the orthodontist told me to do to take care of my teeth and braces because I wanted to have a beautiful smile in the long run. Whether we have braces or not, I think it’s safe to say that many of us want to have a healthy and beautiful smile. Here are 7 Steps to a Healthy Smile.
Step 1: Buy a Quality Toothbrush
I like to use a top quality electric toothbrush because they’re clinically shown to remove more plaque and help you achieve healthier gums than standard manual toothbrushes. If you’re not ready or able to make the investment in an electric toothbrush, be sure to purchase a soft bristled manual toothbrush. While there is a steady supply of medium and hard bristled brushes available on the market, dental professionals advise against using them. Stiffer bristles and aggressive brushing can lead to gums receding and can wear the enamel away from the teeth.
Step 2: Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day. I brush mine more sometimes based on what I’ve been eating or drinking throughout the day. Because plaque can harden into tartar, frequent brushing helps our teeth to stay whiter and healthier than in people who brush less often. How you brush your teeth is also important. Be sure to angle the bristles toward the gumline at a 45-degree angle, with just enough pressure to make the tissue a lighter color. You’ll want to use small strokes in a gentle motion, focusing on only one or two teeth at a time. This helps to keep your gums healthy and remove the most plaque possible.
Step 3: Floss Daily
Flossing is important because it removes plaque between your teeth, as well as out from under the gumlines, where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing on a daily basis helps prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. If plaque is left alone, it can build up under the surface of the gums, which can then cause periodontal disease. This can ultimately lead to bone destruction and tooth loss. To floss properly, you’ll want to wrap the floss tightly around your finger and insert the floss in the space between your teeth. Gently slide it up and down under the gumlines two to three times. If your gums bleed, this is probably due to gingivitis or gum disease. If you floss daily, the bleeding associated with mild to moderate gingivitis usually stops after about two weeks. If you don’t like flossing, you might want to try an oral irrigator, which sprays water or mouthwash to remove plaque and food between your teeth and below your gumline.
Step 4: Limit Your Coffee, Tea, and Red Wine
Drinks such as coffee, tea, and red wine are well known for staining teeth. Similar to smoking, these drinks can build up a superficial stain that can be polished off by your dentist or hygienist. However, they can also cause internal staining of your tooth enamel. I like to drink through a straw (especially iced coffee, tea and soda) because this can help reduce the stain on your teeth, as well as reduce the risk of tooth decay. It also helps to rinse your mouth frequently with water so the dark liquids don’t sit on your teeth for a long period of time between meals.
Step 5: Drink Plenty of Water
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. Many times bottled water comes from a source where the fluoride levels are not monitored, or contain no fluoride at all. A healthy level of fluoride promotes tooth health and discourages decay.
Step 6: See Your Hygienist Twice a Year
It’s important to have routine cleanings every six months to promote good oral health and a beautiful smile. When your cleanings are irregular, you can develop periodontal disease, which can cause unsightly swollen, receding, and bleeding gums. It’s also linked to health conditions like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, premature births, and sleep apnea. I know I personally need to work on being diligent about seeing my hygienist twice a year. In addition to removing stain and tartar from your teeth, your dental hygienist will also screen for health conditions like high blood pressure and oral cancer. Many health conditions can manifest themselves in your mouth, but your dentist and hygienist can make you aware of issues that you should follow up on with your doctor.
Step 7: Get Dental Treatment in a Timely Manner
Remember that our dental conditions never correct themselves on their own. Tooth decay left untreated can easily transform a small cavity into a large tooth abscess. Where a tiny filling may have been all that was needed, it may now require a root canal and a crown. Treating your tooth decay early means you’ll need smaller and less invasive dental restorations. This helps maintain the structure and stability of the tooth, as well as keeping the treatment costs lower. Remember, if left untreated, decay can spread to other teeth and may cause infections throughout the rest of your body.
I’ve gone for a period of time without dental treatment mainly because I didn’t have dental insurance at the time. It’s a horrible feeling to be in pain from a dental issue and have to wait for your coverage period to begin so you can get dental treatment. This is where Guardian Dental comes into play.
Dental insurance is an important tool in protecting your overall health and the health of your family. It’s not “if” you’ll need dental insurance, but rather “when” you’ll need it. Without regular cleanings, bacteria will build up in your mouth and can lead to decay, cavities, and eventually tooth loss! Regular visits to the dentist are essential to maintaining a healthy smile.
Even a simple trip to the dentist costs money, but with a family or more serious issues, the costs can quickly multiply. That’s where dental insurance comes into play. A dental insurance plan from Guardian can help cover the cost of basic dental services as well as most costly procedures. Guardian Dental plans can be purchased individually at any time throughout the year and you don’t need to have a qualifying event to purchase dental insurance. Be sure to check out Guardian Dental for your dental insurance needs.
Do you have dental insurance?
Have you ever had a dental issue and not had insurance to cover it?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.