10 Natural Ways to Keep Your Smile Healthy

 

 

Flashing a bright, healthy smile can make you feel great about yourself—and it sends a positive message about you to everyone who sees it.  But not everyone is lucky enough to have terrific teeth, and it isn’t hard to see why: The mouth can be a hazardous environment, filled with decay-causing bacteria and erosive acids. Fortunately, there are some natural ways to protect your teeth and improve your smile—without spending a lot of money. Here are 10 of them:

 

  1. Think Before You Drink. Since you were a child, you’ve probably been hearing that you need to avoid eating too much sugar to prevent tooth decay. But how much thought do you give to what you drink? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most added sugar in the American diet comes not from foods but from soft drinks. Not only do sugary beverages feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay, they also contain tooth-eroding acids.

 

  1. Use a Straw. Lots of beverages contain acids that can harm teeth. This includes sodas (regular and diet), energy drinks, canned iced teas and even natural fruit juices. It’s best to avoid all of them for the sake of your teeth, but if you find you can’t resist, use a straw. Drinking through a straw will minimize contact between acidic drinks and your teeth.

 

  1. Drink Lots of Water. What’s the best drink for your teeth (and your health in general)? Plain ol’ water! Water has a neutral pH (it’s neither acidic nor alkaline) so it will not erode your teeth. Drinking water can also help neutralize any acids in your mouth. Plus, if you drink fluoridated tap water, your teeth will receive the added protection of cavity-fighting fluoride.

 

  1. Cheese, Please. If you’re looking for a satisfying snack that won’t hurt your smile, Cheese is a good choice. Cheese contains calcium, which teeth need to stay strong, and it can even help neutralize the acids in other foods or drinks.

 

  1. Don’t Rush to Brush. Knowing that sugary treats like soda, cookies, and candy are bad for your teeth might prompt you to grab a toothbrush as soon as you finish them. But hold on! Brushing immediately after consuming something acidic or sugary could actually remove softened enamel from your teeth. It’s much better to rinse with water, and then give the enamel on your teeth about an hour to re-harden before brushing.

 

  1. Don’t Brush Too Much. Here’s another instance where you can have too much of a good thing. Brushing too frequently or too hard can wear down your tooth enamel; it also causes gum recession. Brushing gently but thoroughly twice each day is the way to go.

 

  1. Skip the Bedtime Snack. Saliva is a natural acid-buffer and cavity-fighter, but it needs about an hour to work. Also, the production of this protective fluid drops dramatically when you sleep. So be sure to finish your last meal or snack at least an hour before going to bed.

 

  1. Stop Smoking. Anything that passes through your mouth can impact your oral health, and that includes cigarette smoke. Smoking can stain your teeth, hide the signs of gum disease, and promote oral cancer. Don’t do it!

 

  1. Reduce Stress. Stress can negatively impact our health in all kinds of ways, and sometimes it’s our teeth that bear the brunt of it. If stress causes you to clench or grind your teeth, you may experience jaw pain, headaches, tooth wear and damaged dental work. Find a stress-reduction method that works for you—like yoga, a hot bath, or soothing music. And if you’re a habitual teeth-grinder, do your teeth a favor and get a custom-made nightguard from your dentist!

 

  1. Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene. We’ve saved the most important for last: maintaining an effective, daily oral hygiene routine. Get in the habit of flossing at least once a day and brushing gently twice each day for a full two minutes, using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. And don’t forget to see your dentist regularly for exams and professional cleanings. It’s not expensive—yet it can do so much to keep your smile looking great!

 

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