Our Smile Week dentist Gita lets us in on her top tips on how to keep our mouths in the very best condition.
1. See your dentist regularly. The earlier the problem is detected, the easier it is to get it fixed.
2. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and use interdental aids such as floss. Fluoride helps to keep your teeth cavity free and will prolong the life of fillings and crowns that you have invested in.
First thing in the morning your mouth will be covered in a layer of plaque. Saliva is a natural defence against this but at night you have less saliva so it is important to clean your teeth before bedtime. If you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose that also makes a difference. People that breathe through their mouth have less saliva because the air dries it out, this means less defence against plaque developing.
3. Good oral hygiene also prevents you from developing bad breath and gum disease so your gums stay healthy and you don't end up looking long in the tooth.
4. To brush correctly make sure you cover the top and bottom teeth and don't forget the inside surfaces as well. If you are using a manual toothbrush make small circles at the gum tooth margin. With an electric toothbrush hold your hand still at the gum tooth margin and let the toothbrush do the work for you! Remember to change your toothbrush head every three months or when the bristles start to splay.
5. It is important to brush for two minutes twice a day. This is easy to miscalculate unless you are timing it! One of the best features of electric toothbrushes are timers which beep or buzz at you to tell you how long you have actually brushed for!
6. Reduce sugar intake especially inbetween meals. Your mouth needs at least an hour to naturally wash it away but if you keep snacking on sugary foods or drinks between meals your mouth is continually bathed in sugar and the bacteria in the plaque will turn it into acid and cause tooth decay.
7. Do not smoke. It stains teeth, wrinkles the skin around the mouth and lips and can even give you gum disease and oral cancer.
8. The worst culprits for staining teeth are cigarettes, red wine, tea, coffee and spices in curries. These are best avoided on a regular basis if you want to keep your teeth bright and white. Your dentist or hygienist can polish your teeth to take away these surface stains if you find they build up.
9. Consider tooth whitening or braces if you are not happy with your smile.
10. For a perfect smile for photographs wet your teeth with your tongue to make them appear brighter. If you put your tongue behind your top teeth this can reduce the appearance of a double chin. Ladies think about wearing red lipstick to make your teeth seem even whiter.