First impressions are very important and what better way to make a great first impression with a great big smile? Some of us may feel a little self-conscious when smiling widely because of how our teeth look. So, here are 8 useful tips for you on how to beautify your smile and keep your teeth for a long long time!
We are advised to see our dentist twice a year but how many of us actually comply with that? Going for regular check-ups ensures that any cavities are immediately fixed and regular scaling ensures that your teeth are spick and span. Remember, if you wait to feel any pain, it’s probably too late so do pay your dentist a visit especially if you haven’t been in the last 6 months.
Coffee usually comes to mind when people think of stained teeth. However, tea, no matter if it’s iced or brewed, stains worse than coffee due to its acidity and tannin content. Other beverages that stain your teeth is red wine because it is very acidic, full of tannins and chromogens (compounds with pigments that stick to tooth enamel) which gives red wine its rich colour.
Pro Tip: If you’re not willing to give up your morning pick me up or glass of wine, brush your teeth right after drinking your last cup or glass. Using a straw also ensures that the staining liquids won’t touch your teeth.
Most of us do not floss every day or only when there is something stuck between our teeth. Simply brushing one’s teeth would only get rid of around 50% of the plaque and food particles on your teeth and floss takes care of the rest! Floss can get in between all the nooks and crannies of your teeth that a toothbrush or a toothpick can’t reach.
Pro Tip: If you find that your teeth are too close together which makes it difficult to floss, get thinner and waxed floss. Minty floss is great for that extra clean and zingy feel in between your teeth.
If you suffer from acid reflux, this could affect the surface of your teeth. This is because the stomach acids that irritate your oesophagus could soften your tooth enamel and make it easier to stain and more prone to cavities. Common triggers of acid reflux include spicy, oily or fatty food, coffee, tea, garlic, dairy and onions.
If you do a lot of contact sport activities, such as rugby, boxing and others which could cause harm to your teeth, get a mouth guard, period. This prevents from chipping a tooth or further injury. Sports equipment stores should have mouth guards that can be softened with hot water and then formed to fit your mouth and teeth. A better mouth guard can be custom fitted by your dentist.
This may catch you by surprise – it is recommended that you do not rinse after brushing your teeth though it is fine to spit out the excess toothpaste and foam in your mouth.
The reason why we should not rinse our mouth after brushing is due to the fact that the most important active ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride, which works by strengthening the outer surface of your teeth and making them more resistant to harmful acids. So you would want to keep this valuable defensive shield away a few moments after brushing!
Lots of people believe (largely influenced by advertisements) that simply gargling with minty antiseptic mouthwash will drastically improve your dental health. Unfortunately this is not the case, for the simple reason that most mouthwashes contain lower levels of fluoride than most toothpastes. This means that by rinsing with mouthwash immediately after brushing people are actually increasing the chances that they will suffer from tooth decay.
There are times that mouthwash can be useful (for example after oral surgery when using a toothbrush could cause further damage). But in general, mouthwashes that kill all the bacteria in your mouth are actually doing more harm than good – by wiping out the “good” bacteria that is one of our natural defences against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.
The most important time to clean your teeth is just before you go to sleep. While you are asleep, you have lower levels of protective saliva in your mouth and if sticky plaque is left on your teeth for extended periods then more of your teeth will suffer the effects of tooth decay.
So now, we know the best time to brush our teeth, what about the most ‘inappropriate’ time then? Well, the worst time to brush your teeth is immediately after drinking or eating anything acidic, e.g. fruit juices, smoothies, vinegars, fizzy sodas or wine. Acidic drinks make the outer layer of your teeth enamel softer and brushing your teeth at this moment will actually damage the surface of your teeth, making them more sensitive and liable to staining (by exposing the yellow inner part of the tooth).
So, instead of brushing immediately after acid attacks, it’s better to have something to hand that will help to neutralise the acidity (e.g. a glass of water) or to eat or drink something that contains high levels of calcium and phosphate, such as cheese or milk, as this will help to reverse the damage being done to the outer surfaces of your teeth.
Chewing sugar-free gum will also help by encouraging your mouth to generate more saliva, which in turn will start to neutralize the acidity in your mouth.