A bright, white, fabulous smile is on everyone’s beauty wishlist. We all know the magnetism a beautiful smile can hold, and cosmetic smile makeovers are getting more and more popular – but did you know that the benefits are more than just skin deep? There’s a growing body of research which links poor oral health and a number of serious conditions affecting the heart, brain and other parts of your body. All of which creates some pretty compelling physical and mental health arguments for taking care of those pearly whites. In fact, keeping our teeth and gums in the very best condition is an investment in our health and beauty that can’t go far wrong.
Get the Basics Right
It all starts with a good approach to flossing and brushing – those are the boring basics which add up to a healthy smile. We all think we know how to brush our teeth – after all, we’ve been doing it since we were little kids – but there’s a lot of evidence that many of us don’t use the correct techniques. It’s a great idea to use a tooth brushing app if you’re unsure of the right way to brush – most have timers to make sure that you complete the minimum of two minutes, and you should hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the tooth. This helps the bristles to clean under the gum line and helps to prevent the build-up of plaque. Don’t be tempted to skip flossing either, as this is the most important prevention of gum disease and cavities. The right flossing technique isn’t to saw back and forth, but to slide the strand of floss vertically up and down the sides of your teeth – you can use an interdental brush if you don’t like the feeling of floss.
Tackle a Fear of the Dentist’s Chair
Many people – as many as one in ten – have an overpowering fear of visiting the dentist, and if this applies to you, there are ways to improve your feelings and seek the treatment that you need. Of course, like anything, the longer you leave any dental health issues, the worse they tend to get and the more treatment is likely to be needed. Find a sympathetic dentist who has a good track record of working with nervous patients and can make you feel at ease. Ask them to explain in advance exactly what each process involves and what instruments they will be using – from a simple scale and polish to something more complex such as Dental implants – if you know exactly what is happening, it removes some of the mystery and fear around treatment. Many patients have also found success using simple NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) or even self-hypnotherapy techniques to relax them before a visit to the dentist.
The Health Risks of Skipping the Dentist
One way to think about your oral hygiene efforts is to consider just how many health conditions researchers are now linking with bad teeth and gums. Several recent studies have found a clear link between gum disease and heart disease, for example. There are also studies linking oral health to premature birth rates, lung cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and even Alzheimer’s Disease. Although no one is sure why, one theory is that gum disease triggers the inflammatory response of the body. It’s definitely one more good reason to look after that smile!
Image Credits: Alvin