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With photos and selfies more popular than ever, you want a camera-ready smile to show off your best features for the world to see. In addition, a bright smile speaks to good dental health. Dentists exist to help us in taking care of our teeth, but really the majority of the work is up to us! For help, follow these five tips.
1. Watch What Types of Foods You Eat
Some foods help prevent cavities, especially when you plan to eat them at a certain time. For example, sugarless gum increases saliva, which, in turn, reduces the production of acid. Certain cheeses also help you fight cavities. Basic dental hygiene, such as rinsing or brushing right after a meal also acts to fight dental problems. Beneficial foods include:
- Calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products
- Fresh vegetables and fruit for overall gum health
- And tea, which includes fluoride. However, tea and coffee can also stain your teeth, so use a whitening product if you notice stains.
Limit intake of sticky foods, such as caramel or dried fruits, that can cause you to develop cavities. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, especially soda, which can break down tooth enamel. In addition, avoid continued sipping of acidic drinks for extended time frames.
2. Increase Your Water Intake
Something as simple as drinking water can help protect your smile. Water helps rinse away bacteria that might rest on the teeth and increases saliva production.
We’ve talked about drinking more water on Foodie Fitness before — here’s how to drink more water without even trying, and how to eat your water.
3. Look into Natural Products as Whiteners
The following home remedies can also help whiten your smile.
Lemon juice with baking soda – Combine enough lemon juice with the baking soda to form a paste. Apply this to your teeth, leaving for a minute. Alternatively, you can use baking soda and water, which you can leave on for three minutes before rinsing.
Strawberry and sea salt – Adding the salt to the strawberries acts as an abrasive, improving the effectiveness of the scrub. Use between one and three strawberries, adding a small amount of baking soda if desired. Apply to teeth nightly and leave on for five minutes.
Coconut oil – Swish just under tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes each morning. Spit it out, rinse and brush as normal.
4. Prioritize Your Dental Health
While it should seem like second nature, remember to brush and floss daily in order to properly care for your teeth and gums. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice per day, once in the morning and once at night. A better rule to follow however is brushing after every meal!
Using mouthwash aids in cleansing your mouth and supports a healthy smile and overall dental health. You might wonder if there is a specific order in which you should brush, floss, and rinse but Dr. Taylor from Bridge Creek Dental says, “It doesn’t matter the order in which you do it. All that matters is that it gets done! Personally I like to floss, brush, and then rinse. And I like to use a mouthwash with fluoride in it before going to sleep at night to allow the fluoride to protect tooth enamel while I sleep.”
Combine your daily care at home with regular dental check-ups, which go a long way toward protecting your smile.
5. Natural Help for Cavities
If you can’t go to the dentist, try the following natural remedies:
- Cloves – Place clove oil directly in the cavity.
- Neem – Neem can minimize the formation of plaque and destroy bacteria that form in the mouth.
- Oil of oregano – Brush with this oil every day to slow down tooth decay.
- Sage – Boil this herb in water and rinse your mouth with the cooled solution.
- Xylitol – This product, found in some sprays, rinses and toothpastes, serves to reduce acid-causing bacteria.
Though technology has come a long way and we have great products to restore decayed and broken teeth, there is no substitute for the natural tooth. “Floss the ones you want to keep!” That’s the voice I hear in my head every night when I floss. We want to keep them all! Our dental hygiene is a major player in our overall health and self esteem. Caring for our teeth is an easy day-to-day routine and when neglected can cause serious pain and financial stress. Think about that the next time you’re contemplating skipping your oral hygiene before falling into bed for the night.
Karen Simpson is a freelance writer, dental hygienist, mom blogger passionate about staying active and healthy. Her writing passions include: overall health and fitness, and love of researching topics surrounding dental health, life long nutrition, and how to help parents living their busy lives. Follow Karen on Twitter and LinkedIn.