Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dental Hygiene = White Teeth


1. FLOSS (my favorite is Crest Glide) - between every single tooth! your gums should NOT bleed when you floss. if they do, that just means your gums are sensitive and you most likely have early gingivitis - don't panic, your gums are resilient and will quickly toughen up from daily flossing. (for the record, there is no comparable substitute for floss...those individual flossy sticks are useless because you're using the same, measly piece of floss in between every tooth, and they usually get stuck anyway, and break easily = waste of money!)

2. use a soft toothbrush - you may feel like you're really winning the battle against plaque and tooth decay by using a firmer brush but the truth is, tooth enamel is delicate and our teeth take A LOT of abuse...although we definitely need to brush, the act does wear your enamel down over time so be gentle!

3. brush at least 2x a day (first thing in the morning, right before bed, and ideally after every meal)

4. use toothpastes that contain silica (which polishes away stains) and fluoride (prevents tooth decay, fortunately it's in NYC water too)

5. avoid toothpastes with SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) - common ingredient in commercial toothpastes that creates a foaming effect, this harsh and abrasive chemical has been proven to create microscopic damage to the oral tissue which lines the inside of your mouth, which then leads to canker sores.

6. don't neglect your gums - massage them with your toothbrush as you brush, you'd be surprised, healthy gums = whiter teeth

7. avoid mouth washes with alcohol - they just dry out your mouth and ironically cause bad breath

8. be nice to your teeth...

-don't eat candy or drink soda- they will literally rot your teeth (your parents were right!)

-when drinking anything acidic, colored, or opaque use a straw! this includes water with lemon, fruit juice, coffee and tea. citric acid is very harsh and will slowly eat away at your enamel and beverages with artificial or natural coloring will quickly stain your teeth. i try to drink everything from a straw, even water, because i find it prevents me from "gulping" and swallowing unnecessary air which can make you feel bloated. (*i wouldn't go as far as to drink red wine with a straw...although i might rinse with a little water soon after a glass- you'd be surprised at how the color immediately clings to your teeth- not pretty)

-make sure your getting all your vitamins, specifically Calcium and Vitamin D

*Coming soon....Dental Hygiene- Part II: Morning Breath and Bad Breath

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