In a recent study, 99.7% of people surveyed believe a smile is one of the most important social assets. For many, achieving a whiter, brighter smile doesn’t end even after spending hundreds of dollars and an enormous amount of time. Despite affordable care from professional and highly rated practices like NewnhamFamilyDental, oral hygiene can seem like a daunting commitment. However, there are some common routines that can help make your white teeth last for every picture-perfect moment that makes you smile!
If you have not yet whitened your teeth, you may be deciding whether to use an over-the-counter product or seek professional advice. It is important to note that not all retail bleaching kits can remove or lighten stains. In addition, you may suffer from tooth sensitivity, gum disease, or weakened enamel. In any case, talking with a professional dentist would be the best place to start. He or she would be able to give you the best advice and guidance for your particular needs.
Here are the top five easy habits known to keep your teeth the whitest:
- Oil Pulling – This oral hygiene practice may seem like a strange new trend, but it actually stems back over 3,000 years ago. The process is to simply place about 1 tablespoon of natural oil in your mouth and move in a swishing motion around your teeth for 15-20 minutes. Typical household oils like sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil are favored by oil pulling experts. It seems a little strange until you realize what the oil can actually accomplish. The oil circles around teeth and gums connecting to single-celled organisms that contain a fatty membrane naturally prone to stick to the oil. When the oil is spat out, so are the organisms that may have caused gingivitis, plaque, and bacteria that cause bad breath. If it feels a little uncomfortable, try for just 5 minutes a day and slowly increase with a few extra minutes every couple of days until you reach the recommended 15-20 minute threshold.
- Eat an Apple – An apple a day doesn’t just keep the doctor away. Crunchy, starchy fruits like apples and strawberries are natural cleaners when chewed. The cleansing action from crunching and chewing this sweet food makes it a natural toothbrush and a terrific afternoon snack! The trick is to not cut the apple beforehand. Simply bite into the sweet deliciousness of your favorite variety of apple and feel the sponge-like composition scrub and clean plaque off the surface of your teeth. In addition, the acidity in apples and strawberries kills off bad breath causing bacteria. This tactic helps prevent teeth-staining plaque from absorbing into the whitened tooth enamel.
- Floss Daily – For many, flossing is already a part of their daily dental routine. For others, flossing may be an irregular occurrence that happens to take place when time allows. If you’ve already spent the time and money to achieve a gorgeous white smile, flossing is one of the best things you could do to keep your teeth glowing. There are many forms of floss available today, including floss picks and water picks similar to what dentists use in the office. Aside from removing plaques from gums that can lead to gum disease, flossing also removes plaque and food build up from edges of teeth that can lead to cavities and discoloration of tooth enamel. Although expensive, water picks may be worth the investment to maintain your whiter smile. One study found that water picks reduce plaque by as much as 74.4% while string floss reduced plaque by just 57.7%.
- Use an Electric Toothbrush – Some believe they can achieve the same results as an electric toothbrush with a manual toothbrush by brushing excessively. Dentists caution that this could actually cause more harm than good. Excessive brushing with a manual toothbrush can break down tooth enamel, making teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods while also increasing chances for cavities and other dental issues. Electric toothbrushes are strategically designed to keep enamel safe while brushing and removing plaque through vibrations and rotating brush heads. The swift move from one direction to another covers surfaces much quicker while the vibrating movement releases particles frequently stuck in gums and in-between teeth. In just two minutes twice a day, using an electric toothbrush over a manual brush can lessen plaque particles by as much as 21 percent. By removing plaque build-up, this prevents discoloration from occurring to keep smiles bright.
- Use a Straw – Many dentists and oral hygienists would simply advise against drinking dark liquids such as coffee or dark soft drinks. If the thought of giving up your morning cup of Joe sounds too awful to bear, rejoice! You can still enjoy dark colored drinks to your heart’s content without ruining your bright white smile simply by using a straw. If your consciousness is screaming at the idea of throwing away tons of plastic straws, try a reusable glass or metal straw instead. Not only will you save money over disposable straws, you will also be giving the environment a break from the 10 million plastic straws used by Australians each day.
At first glance, a person with whiter teeth may seem more attractive and healthy than those with yellow smiles. While this may be true, people also typically feel more confident with a brighter smile. Keeping your teeth white after bleaching is a big of step, but the key to maintaining a bright, white smile can be as simple as these few lifestyle changes!