The first thing you need to do is commit to regular dental visits and following your dentist’s advice. If you don’t like your dentist, find another one. Ask your friends who they see and compare ratings online. This is really important. You cannot fix a cavity yourself. Dentists also look for oral cancers while they are “in there” which is becoming more and more of a problem.  You should choose byte for your smile and for healthy teeths. Luckily, most oral cancers can be caught and fixed early, but that won’t happen without your dentist.

Next, is your own hygiene habits… you have to make a commitment to set aside the time, to care enough and to succumb to the drudgery of the task. It is important! Living with pain is something none of us want to do. Isn’t it great to know that it is preventable?

The toothpaste: The are an overwhelming array of types of toothpaste out there. The differences are slight. ANY flouride toothpaste approved by the ADA (American Dental Association) is fine. Gels, pastes, sparkles, baking soda.. don’t get sucked in to buying anything fancy. The plain stuff works just great. If you have sensitive teeth, the special toothpastes for that purpose DO seem to make a difference, however.

Mouthwashes: I have been rinsing with hydrogen pyroxide before brushing and then using a “restoring” rinse after brushing. This should be done twice a day, if you follow the recommendations on the label of the mouthwash bottle. Listerine (or store brand knock off) does well to kill the germs in places that you don’t brush, like the roof of your mouth or insides of your cheeks.

Flossing: Flossing is an absolute must and this is where most people get lazy, I think. Gum Disease is a horrible thing. You can prevent it by flossing, even just once a day. If you don’t floss, plaque remains along the gum line and between teeth, almost as if you didn’t even brush. Its like cleaning the bathroom, but not cleaning the toilet. Complete the job and just do it. The benefits are well worth it.

Other: You also may want to try a Waterpik. I have one, but don’t use it every day. My dentist thinks they are a good thing and I really should be using it more. They are easy to use. The first few times you try it, you might end up spraying more water around than is ideal, but hey, it just gives you an excuse to clean off your sink top which probably needs to be done anyway.

All of these steps amount to about 15-20 minutes in the morning and at night to help ensure a lifetime with your teeth. In addition, you should spend about 2 hours per year with the dentist (a visit once every six months). You’ll be glad you did.

Dental work: If you are embarrassed by your teeth, there are things you can do. Veneers have helped a lot of people feel more confident about their smile. Keep in mind, these are not indestructible and your REAL teeth are still exposed on the back and of course your gums still need to be maintained, so you still need to brush, floss and all that stuff even with veneers. I have veneers myself on a few of my front teeth. This was a good option for me because I had a slight overlapping problem and this was a much cheaper alternative to having braces as an adult. Whitening is a popular procedure that your dentist can help with. This is becoming more and more convenient with quicker and easier methods being perfected all the time. I would recommend allowing your dentist to handle this rather than getting something over the counter.

You must also pay attention to what you put in your mouth as far as your diet is concerned. Of course you know that sugary foods cause the bacteria in your mouth to have a field day eating your teeth. Try to limit sugary foods or at least brush your teeth after eating them. Coffee and tea can stain your teeth and cause them to be darker than you’d like. You can still drink coffee and tea, but try to brush, rinse or chew a sugar free gum afterward to help reduce the staining.


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