Studies have shown that someone’s smile is often the first thing that people notice. But how does one make sure that their smile is the best that it can be? Here, Dr. Perry Patel, DDS, shares his ten top tips to keep your smile tiptop:
1) Get a new toothbrush every two to three months.
Dr. Patel recommends that patients replace their toothbrush or the head of their electric toothbrush every two to three months. Using a brush that has seen better days could introduce harmful bacteria.
2) Eat a healthy diet.
“It is important to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, and to stay clear of sticky foods that lodge in teeth,” explained Dr. Patel. Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, and sweet, sticky foods such as fruit strips or raisins are particularly harmful. Also, steering clear of foods like coffee and red wine will prevent stains.
3) Only floss the teeth you want to keep.
Dentists have a saying that goes, “only floss the teeth you want to keep,” and it really rings true, according to Dr. Patel. Many people think that flossing is a pain, but it is an imperative step in your oral hygiene routine if you want to keep a healthy smile into your later years.
4) Visit the dentist for a cleaning twice per year.
The kind of deep cleaning a dentist can provide reaches far beyond what patients can achieve at home. Twice per year cleanings are recommended.
5) Don’t forget your tongue!
Cleaning the tongue with a tongue scraper is a fantastic and easy way to cut down on bacteria in the mouth and improve overall oral health.
6) Use the right toothpaste.
“Many people like to use whitening toothpaste,” Dr. Patel explained, “but over time this can weaken your enamel and cause sensitivity.” Once this happens, Dr. Patel recommends switching to a gentler toothpaste like Sensodyne.
7) Brush twice per day, for at least two minutes.
Dr. Patel recommends that patients brush their teeth for at least two minutes, one minute on the top teeth and one minute on the bottom teeth, and don’t forget the backs of teeth too!
8) Pay attention to gum health.
Gum health is just as important as tooth health. “Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and other medical conditions,” Dr. Patel said. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.
9) Pay attention to areas of pain or bleeding while brushing.
If brushing or flossing creates pain or bleeding, that may be a sign of gingivitis.
10) Use a soft bristle brush.
“Never ever use anything but a soft bristle brush,” Dr. Patel says. “It can make the gums recede, and gums can’t grow back.”