Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I get nicer teeth?” In a recent Australian survey*, many people resoundingly agreed “nothing looks worse than having bad teeth”. For health and cosmetic reasons, a great smile goes a long way. Here are five tips to help improve your smile.
Don’t forget your back teeth
It’s essential to spend adequate time cleaning your back teeth just like you would the ones at the front. Neglecting rear teeth can wreak havoc on your oral health. Failing to do so contributes to problems such as bad breath, tooth decay and potentially tooth loss.
“How’s your flossing?”
Your dental professional accurately knows how diligent you are with keeping your mouth clean. You can’t fool them with last minute flossing before the appointment! When they tell you flossing matters, it is because brushing doesn’t accomplish the entire task. Floss can get into areas a regular toothbrush can’t, like below the gumline and between teeth. This goes a long way to contributing to a whiter and healthier smile.
Avoid brushing too hard
A shaggy toothbrush can be a clue that your brushing technique may need some refinement. Some people fall into the trap of brushing too aggressively, perhaps under the assumption that it’s more effective at removing stains. Dentist and Australian Dental Association (ADA) representative Robert Watson instructs, “The best way to brush your teeth is to use a soft to medium toothbrush and gently move the head of the brush up and down, letting the bristles brush your teeth and gums. Do not brush from side to side.” Brush your teeth like this twice a day, for two minutes at a time.
Use products with fluoride
When it’s time to brush, use a fluoride toothpaste. The Australian Dental Association asserts “For people aged six years or more, the teeth should be cleaned twice a day or more frequently with standard fluoride toothpaste.” All of Colgate’s toothpastes and mouthwashes contain fluoride, making them the best choice when defending against plaque and tooth decay.
Be careful of sports drinks, gels and energy bars
It’s easy to understand how coffee and red wine can stain teeth; however some foods and drinks have surprising effects on your teeth. For instance, did you know vegetables like carrots and celery can help clean your teeth and gums when you chew them? Of course, this isn’t a substitute for brushing and flossing, but eating these foods is a healthier and more mouth-friendly alternative to sugar-laden snacks.
Oral health therapist Jo Purssey explains how sports drinks and energy foods can be culprits in causing tooth erosion , “When such products come into contact with tooth enamel, it begins to soften and gradually dissolves away. In this softened state, enamel is also vulnerable to further wear from behaviours such as tooth clenching or grinding, commonly associated with high intensity sport and fitness activities.
Sports and fitness activities also cause dehydration. Dehydration means a low flow of saliva. When saliva flow is low, it is not able to perform its protective responsibilities.”
Tap water is a far cheaper and fluoride-rich option when it comes to refreshment during exercise. It also doesn’t stain your teeth.
* Longeran Study, 2014.