Ask the person beside you if he or she believes a healthy smile is socially important and the answer is almost guaranteed to be a yes. Almost every adult surveyed (99.7% to be exact) by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) said they consider a healthy smile socially important. The AACD also found that over 50% of U.S. adults consider our smiles to be the physical feature which remains the most attractive as we age. To keep your smile at its best year after year, here are some essential care tips:
- Perfect your technique
Most of us never had proper tooth brushing instruction. Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Use gentle, circular motions with a soft brush – – brushing too harshly or using too firm of bristles can cause your gums to recede and damage the enamel of your teeth.
Flossing is a bit of a different story. Even if flossing hurts or causes your gums to bleed, don’t let up. Flossing strengthens gums. And don’t forget to floss every day – no if’s, and’s, or but’s.
- Use clean tools to clean your teeth
Three-quarters of people don’t change out their toothbrush as often as recommended. According to the American Dental Association, we should be replacing our toothbrushes at least once ever three to four months. If the bristles are frayed, replace it even sooner.
- Avoid sugary treats and acidic drinks
We’ve all been told candy is bad for our teeth, but did you know it’s potentially $800 million bad? According to a report by CNBC, over $800 million could be spent on emergency dental visits caused by Halloween.
Sugary foods cause your mouth to produce acid. Likewise, carbonated drinks and fruit juices contain acid. Acid will weaken the enamel on our teeth and eventually wear it away. If sweet treats or fizzy drinks simply can’t be avoided, they can be chased with milk or cheese to help counteract the acidity.
- Minimize the daily grind
Those emergency Halloween dental visits are likely due to chomping on hard candy as much as they are to neglecting the floss and toothbrush for a night. The daily grind of chewing is already hard enough on our teeth over time without the added strain of chomping on hard candies or food. The only way to cure a lifetime of wear and tear on our teeth is with the help of cosmetic dentistry. In the meantime, however, we can help prevent excessive damage by being kind to our dentition.
- Stop avoiding the dentist
We know our family dentist is going to ask to schedule that six month appointment when we head in. And yet people wait an average of three years between dental appointments. If you need a stronger incentive to visit your dentist than it’s time for a cleaning, read the following bullet below.
- Up your oral cancer awareness
As we age, our mouths, throats, and tongues become susceptible to cancer. The best ways to minimize the chances of developing cancer is quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and use SPF lip balm. In it’s earliest stages, oral cancer can be hard to detect as we’re not likely to experience any pain. The best way to stay on top of it is with regular visits to the dentist. A dentist can recognize the early signs or oral cancer and treat them before they become dangerous.
- Keep your mouth hydrated
Our mouths get drier as we grow older. Saliva is important to protecting our teeth and preventing decay. To combat dry mouth, drink lots of water, holding it in your math for a few seconds before swallowing. Alternatively, you can chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to help encourage saliva production.
- Reset the clock with cosmetic dentistry
As we said before, at the end of the day, there’s no preventing wear and tear on your teeth. Once it’s begun, the closet we can come to resetting the clock and resetting the damage is with the help of a cosmetic dentist. It’s not unusual for the cosmetic dentistry of our teens to need to be redone in later years. From teeth whitening to dental implants and Invisalign, cosmetic dentistry is armed with tools and techniques to put the twinkle back in your smile.