If you’ve read our Optimist View on laughter, then you know that laughing and smiling have a myriad of health benefits both mentally and physically. However, people are more likely to smile freely and widely if they’re confident in their oral hygiene. Here are seven easily adoptable habits to nurture your pearly whites so that you can dazzle the world with your smile and reap all the benefits laughter has to offer.
Floss up and down
Did you know that your toothbrush only cleans approximately 60 percent of the surface of your teeth? Well, according to the Oral Health Foundation, this is because the bristles of your toothbrush can’t reach the bacteria in the spaces that are between your teeth and under your gum line.
To floss properly, gently maneuver the floss around one tooth at a time, rubbing the side of the tooth by moving it up and down. This can be done before or after brushing—what really matters is that you do it because consistency is key.
Brush for the right amount of time
The perfect tooth brushing session lasts at least two minutes long—that’s 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth: upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left. Make sure to spend at least five seconds on each tooth, polishing it carefully, front to back.
To help you reach the two-minute mark (which often feels much longer than you think it will), try setting an alarm or getting a handy pocket-sized two-minute hourglass.
Know when to use mouthwash
Mouthwash helps rid your mouth of bacteria however, its main use is to freshen breath. If you use mouthwash directly after brushing your teeth, you may be removing some toothpaste ingredients that are good for your dental health. To avoid this, wait at least an hour after brushing before using mouthwash.
Bring back your natural whiteness
Avoid chemical whiteners by trying natural powders that you can sprinkle on top of your toothpaste. You can even try to make your own turmeric-based whitener, like the one featured on Poosh.
After eating, wait to brush
Many people think it’s normal to brush their teeth directly after eating, but it actually does more harm than good. That’s because acidic and sugary foods weaken the enamel that protects your teeth, so brushing straight away may further break down particles of enamel. Wait about an hour to allow your teeth to re-mineralize and be strong enough for a brushing session.
Drink more water and fewer sugary beverages
It’s no secret that sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drinks or juice can lead to a higher likelihood of developing cavities. Instead, quench your thirst with water or unsweetened beverages—besides, staying hydrated benefits more than just your oral hygiene—it is crucial for your overall health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking affects the immune system and makes it more difficult for your body to heal tissues, like those present in the mouth.
Plus, smoking can stain your teeth and tongue and contribute to bad breath.