7 Tips from Dental Professionals for a Whiter Smile This Summer
Summer is here which means vacations, barbecues, time outdoors with friends, and plenty of pictures being taken where you will want to make sure you have a sparkling white smile to show off to friends and family. Our dental professionals at Dental365 have put together our top tips to give yourself a whiter and healthier looking smile for the summer.
1. Change your diet
As the saying goes, you are what you eat, and that is in part true when it comes to your oral health. Fiber rich foods such as beans, broccoli, or even certain types of berries, can actually help to keep your teeth and gums clean according to the ADA. Getting the proper amounts of calcium in your diet is also important since calcium is proven to improve the strength of bones and teeth. The calcium that can be found in products like cheese, milk, or low sugar yogurt can help to restore minerals on the teeth that might have been lost.
The same way that some foods are good for your teeth, there are also well known foods that can contribute to an unhealthy smile. It is no secret that diet plays a major role in keeping your teeth white and healthy. Especially when it comes to avoiding sugary food and drinks that are the primary cause of tooth decay. Plaque, when it comes in contact with sugar, produces the acid that wears down enamel and can cause cavities or gum disease if it is not removed with proper brushing or flossing. In addition to avoiding sugary snacks, some beverages, like coffee, tea, red wine, or dark sodas can also cause tooth staining that leads to a more dull smile over time. At a summer barbecue it is easy to reach for a bottle of cola, but try to mindfully replace some you would normally drink with a glass of water. This is especially important for more reasons than you may think, and why it is the second tip on our list.
2. Drink More Water
The human body is made up of around 60% water, so it is no surprise that drinking plenty of water is incredibly important for more than just staying hydrated. When it comes to oral health, drinking water provides a number of benefits including keeping your teeth clean, fighting against dry mouth, and even restoring enamel. Acidic foods and sugar when left on the teeth can damage your tooth's enamel and lead to cavities and gum disease. Drinking water helps to dilute acidity that may be in the mouth while also washing away debris preventing plaque from being able to build up.
In addition, it is easy during the summer to become dehydrated which can lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common condition where not enough saliva can be produced. Saliva is the body's natural defense against tooth decay in order to help fight against plaque buildup and damage to enamel. By keeping your mouth hydrated you can avoid the chances of dry mouth and keep your smile healthy. This is especially important if you are consuming alcohol which can accelerate dehydration. If you are drinking alcoholic beverages, try to drink a glass of water per drink that you have in order to stay hydrated and keep your teeth clean.
If that wasn’t enough, depending on where you are getting water from, it is likely that you are also consuming small amounts of fluoride that help to care for your teeth. Usually found in tap water, fluoride helps a process along called mineralization which helps to restore
3. Chew more gum
We’ve talked about the importance of saliva in helping to naturally fight against tooth decay and chewing sugarless gum can actively help to increase saliva production. According to the ADA, “The physical act of chewing stimulates salivary flow: simply chewing unsweetened, unflavored chewing gum base stimulates the salivary flow rate by 10-12 times that of the unstimulated rate.”
Studies have also shown that stimulated salivary flow achieved by chewing gum actually has higher concentrations of some of the healthy minerals such as calcium, protein, chloride and more that help to promote mineralization better than unstimulated saliva. Be sure to look out for the ADA stamp on chewing gum to make sure it is one that can help your teeth rather than harm it. Only sugarless gums have the ADA seal that can reduce plaque acid and help prevent tooth decay.
4. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is the process of removing surface stains from the teeth in order to have a brighter looking smile. There are various methods of tooth whitening that are available, such as laser treatment or hydrogen peroxide treatment. However, in order to get the best results for the summer smile you are looking for, in-office or professional tooth whitening may be your best option. Professional tooth whitening, which can be performed by the professionals at Dental365, uses stronger materials than what you can buy over the counter or by using at-home treatment methods such as baking soda. If you are looking to show off a Hollywood white smile, then our proven professional teeth whitening results can make your smile shine brighter than ever.
5. Build your oral care routine
Building a proper oral healthcare routine is the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy smile. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Many people struggle with making and maintaining habits often because we try to strive for something too big to start with. Creating a routine around oral health is thankfully a simple yet effective way to begin building up the mindset required to sustain any habit.
When trying to build new habits psychologists often recommend the simple task of drinking water first thing when you wake up, and even though it may appear mundane it is that simple act that begins the habit forming process before moving onto more complex or involved goals. Brushing your teeth every morning takes only 2 minutes of your time and can similarly help you start off on a more involved habit forming journey of self growth. It also has the added benefit of keeping your mouth healthy, your smile whiter, and your dentist happy when you come in for your routine checkup (which is the next thing on our list)!
6. Routine general cleanings
Several crucial actions are performed during your general dentist appointments. Your routine cleanings will allow your dentist to remove any tartar buildup which cannot be removed by normal brushing, and notice any decay or cavities that may have formed.
During your general dentistry appointment you may also be recommended for additional treatments such as:
- Aesthetic porcelain braces
- Traditional metal braces
- Wisdom teeth removal
These procedures and treatments are preventative to help to correct any issues that may arise before they become bigger (and more expensive) issues to fix.
Flossing has a significant impact on your overall oral health, and is one of the most important steps of your at home routine, yet it is one of the most neglected. Brushing often does not reach some of the spaces in between your teeth which leaves them susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing properly also reduces your chance of developing heart disease since studies have shown that gum disease and heart disease are related. Additionally, if you suffer from bad breath (halitosis) and don’t floss, that may be the reason. Food that gets stuck between the teeth and plaque buildup can lead to bad smelling breath that is easily corrected by simply flossing once per day. Working flossing into your oral health routine is a simple process and your teeth (and dentist) will thank you for it!
Love Your Smile This Summer with Dental365!
You can visit any of our Dental365 locations in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to talk about dental care and your heart health. Contact us at (844) 365-DENTAL for more information or to schedule an appointment.