Fortunately, there are multiple things you can do to improve oral issues without the need for costly and time-consuming surgery–DIY teeth whitening is just the beginning.
Learn how to improve your smile with our ten tips and tactics below.
1. Lighten Up With Teeth Whitening
7 in 10 Americans feel self-conscious about their teeth. It’s common for teeth to yellow as we age. Typically, stain-inducing beverages and food like coffee, tea and soda, curry, and tomato sauce are likely to have contributed to the yellowing process.
Teeth whitening is a relatively painless treatment that effectively bleaches teeth clean. Most whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide that breaks down the stain molecules, leaving the tooth enamel brighter and whiter. Others have even gentler ingredients for sensitive teeth.
The good news is that you don’t have to visit a dentist for professional teeth whitening. Numerous online brands, including Snow and Hismile, put you in control of your whitening with DIY home teeth-whitening kits. These brands make it easy to maintain results with refill kits and whitening pens to rejuvenate a dull-looking smile. Check out our detailed reviews, linked above, and online customer feedback to help decide which is the most suitable for you.
2. Brush Up on Oral Hygiene
Regular brushing and flossing can make a vast difference to the appearance of your teeth and improve your oral health.
Dentists recommend you brush your teeth once in the morning and again at night, but by all means, brush more frequently if you prefer. Clean teeth and the removal of debris and food particles make it less likely that bacteria will flourish, protecting teeth and gums
When brushing, pay close attention to what you’re doing, and time yourself. A key finding in one study showed that brushing for a full 2 minutes (as opposed to the 45 seconds that many people manage) results in a 26% improvement in the removal of plaque. This sticky substance solidifies and contributes to gum disease and tooth decay if not removed.
As a top tip, spit out the toothpaste but don’t rinse your mouth with water. This will help prolong the protection of the toothpaste on your teeth.
3. Improve Your Smile with Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is a non-invasive and inexpensive cosmetic procedure that can be used to cover a wide variety of imperfections. This can include covering minor blemishes, chips, and cracks, as well as resizing uneven teeth and closing up any unnatural spacing or gapping.
Once the resin bonding agent is applied to the teeth and hardened, it creates a new tooth surface, producing a more even and brighter smile.
Tooth bonding is typically completed in a single dental visit. The tooth surface is roughened before a bonding agent is applied, making it easier for the resin to adhere. The composite is applied to the area, shaped, and hardened with a UV light. The process is simple, straightforward, and hassle-free.
One thing to note, if you are considering teeth whitening, the bonding material does not respond to bleaching agents. Therefore, if you are looking to achieve a whiter smile as part of a smile makeover, it’s best to get it done before undergoing tooth bonding.
The reason is simple. Your dentist will choose a shade for the resin that’s close to your existing tooth color for a natural look. If you later whiten your teeth, the tooth enamel becomes lighter, but the bonding color remains the same. Having two-tone teeth is probably not the look you want.
4. Straighten Your Teeth
Having a celebrity smile isn’t just about looks. If your teeth are crooked or crowded or your bite is out of alignment, the problem could be more than cosmetic. Crooked teeth are challenging to clean, and because of this, bacteria, debris, and plaque can accumulate, leading to gum disease—the leading cause of tooth loss in the USA—tooth decay, and cavities.
Moreover, crooked teeth can also contribute to other problems, including temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) and eating/digestive issues.
The good news is that there are orthodontic alternatives to fixed metal braces, including Invisalign treatment. This method uses a series of clear aligners for discreet teeth straightening without the need for a mouth full of metal.
5. Consider Porcelain Veneers
Like dental composite bonding, veneers cover the front of your teeth to give the illusion of a perfect smile. However, unlike dental bonding, which is applied directly to the tooth, veneers are individually engineered from porcelain to fit the tooth exactly.
Porcelain has similar properties to tooth enamel in that it reflects the light, giving a natural translucency and lifelike appearance. Since porcelain is easier to shade-match to neighboring teeth, it’s an ideal solution for a chipped or discolored tooth.
The only downside to porcelain veneers is that dentists may need to remove some of the tooth structure so that they sit fit flush within the smile. This means that the process is often irreversible.
6. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings
Another way to improve your smile simply and effectively is to incorporate professional cleaning into your oral care routine. When sticky plaque is not removed, it combines with minerals in your saliva and hardens. This is known as tartar or calculus which becomes impossible to remove by normal brushing alone. If left, a build-up of tartar will eventually cause cavities, gingivitis, and eventually, gum disease.
Your dentist or hygienist can help maintain a healthy smile by removing surface stains and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. An exam can also help detect dental problems early, before they cause discomfort, enabling you to avoid further costly treatments.
7. Watch What You Eat and Drink
It’s no secret that sugary drinks can cause tooth decay and cavities. But they’re not the only culprits. Foods such as pasta, bread, and other carbohydrates can also be troublesome for teeth, since when the tooth surfaces are exposed to food for longer, the carbs have time to break down into tooth-decaying sugars.
One way to counteract this is to limit the number of sugary, sticky foods you eat during the day. Instead, try eating fruit and vegetables. Not only are they good for your body, adding beneficial nutrients to your diet, they’re good for your teeth, too.
For example, while an apple a day keeps the doctor away, it also aids clean teeth and freshens breath. The fibrous nature of apples acts like a toothbrush, removing debris and scrubbing away plaque, while acidity in the fruit helps kill harmful bacteria that cause bad breath.
8. Skip Staining Foods and Drinks
If a bright white smile is top of your priority list, there are certain foods, drinks, and habits you can limit or avoid to help your teeth stay whiter for longer.
Most people know that smoking is bad for their medical health, but they may not realize its effect on their oral health. Smoking can quickly turn the teeth yellow after teeth whitening treatments and cause gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer in severe cases.
Certain beverages and food are more likely to stain teeth than others. While they may be enjoyable, their effect on your tooth enamel means that they should be indulged in sparingly.
Some foods and drinks to avoid or limit include chocolate, soy sauce, tomato sauce, dark berries, tea, coffee, red wine, and cola. It’s also advisable to cut down on highly acidic foods and drinks that wear away the tooth enamel.
One top tip if you do want to indulge is to sip drinks through a straw when possible to avoid passing stain-inducing liquids over the teeth.
9. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is good for overall health and staying hydrated helps our systems function effectively. Sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth. Here’s why.
Drinking water with fluoride helps prevent cavities.
Water cleans your mouth by washing away food particles and debris on which cavity-causing bacteria would otherwise thrive.
Drinking water helps prevent dry mouth, especially when your saliva supply runs low, putting you at risk of tooth decay.
Water contains no tooth-damaging sugar, unlike many flavored drinks.
Sip water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, as dehydration has already set in by then. You can drink up guilt-free knowing it’s good for your body and smile.
10. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum immediately after meals can reduce your risk of developing cavities. Recent trials observed a reduction in cavities as a result of regularly chewing sugar-free gum after meals. Chewing gum also helps freshen breath and can be a great substitute for unnecessary snacking.
While you probably want a beautiful smile you can love, it’s also essential that your teeth are healthy. The good thing is, many things will help with both. With our list of tips, including regularly cleaning your teeth, fixing certain dental issues, and avoiding staining foods, you now have plenty of options to feel confident in your smile while your pearly whites remain healthy.