January’s Golden Globes ceremony marked the beginning of the 2019 Awards Season. The 91st Academy Awards (aka the ‘Oscars’) will take place later this month. The familiar red carpet fashion show usually generates as many headlines as the winners themselves. But what is the one accessory almost every celebrity (male or female) shares? That’s right, a dazzling bright smile.
Most of us would love white, even ‘film star’ teeth, but we’re not always sure where to start. Did you know that white teeth are usually the result of strong, healthy enamel? So if you’d like an Oscar-worthy smile, there are steps you can take to build strong, healthy teeth. We can’t promise you Hollywood fame and fortune. But establishing excellent oral health habits can help you look and feel like a superstar.
It may be a cliché, but we are what we eat. It’s important to follow a good diet in order to be healthy and fit. Your teeth are no exception. And they need calcium to stay strong.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Together with Vitamin D and phosphorus, it plays a vital role in the formation of strong teeth and gums. It’s important that we eat a healthy diet, which contains plenty of calcium, to keep our teeth (and jawbone) strong. According to the NHS, adults aged 19 to 64 need around 700mg of calcium every day.
So what are the best foods to consume to achieve this? Dairy products, leafy greens such as broccoli, nuts, and certain types of fish, are all good sources of calcium. Tofu, soya beans, pulses and sesame seeds are excellent vegan alternatives. Some good news for carb lovers: did you know that brown and white bread contain calcium? In the UK, it’s added to both white and brown flour by law. So that lunchtime sandwich could actually be helping to strengthen your smile!
But consuming calcium alone isn’t sufficient, because it doesn’t operate in isolation. You need Vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium in your body. Good sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese – and natural sunlight.
Brush and floss
To stay strong and healthy, your teeth need to be clean. Practice good oral health by brushing gently but thoroughly at least twice a day. But don’t rush to brush straight after consuming all that calcium! It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after eating. This is because if you’ve eaten anything acidic, brushing it straight into your teeth will weaken its enamel.
For best results, use a fluoride toothpaste, and brush for two minutes, to prevent plaque building up. Remember to change your toothbrush regularly. Most dentists recommend at least every three months, and more often if you’ve been ill. That’s because gems can lurk in toothbrush bristles. In addition, normal wear and tear means older brushes are less effective than new ones at removing plaque.
Daily flossing is another way to help keep your teeth strong. That’s because it helps to dislodge any food debris from between your teeth. Flossing also helps to remove plaque along the gum line. Strong healthy teeth can’t exist without strong, healthy gums, so do take the time to floss. Floss firmly but gently, or you’ll damage your gums. If you’re not a fan of floss per se, try dental tape or interdental brushes instead.
To keep your teeth strong and healthy, you need to avoid enamel erosion. So anything sugary and/or acidic is bad news. That’s why fizzy drinks (of the alcoholic and soft variety) can damage your teeth as much as sugary snacks.
Protect your teeth by keeping an eye on your liquid consumption. Dry January might be done and dusted, but cutting back on alcohol will help to keep your teeth strong. For context, it takes about an hour for your teeth enamel to remineralise after encountering acid and sugar. So if you’re constantly snacking or sipping on sodas, your teeth are in trouble. Switch to water instead. We all know how important it is to keep hydrated. But did you realise that water can protect your teeth too?
Water can help to physically rinse away any leftover scraps of food and bacteria that are lurking in your mouth. It can also neutralise the acid that erodes enamel, and subsequently weakens your teeth.
Resist the temptation to multi-task
Your teeth are not tools. Using them exclusively for chewing food will help keep them strong and healthy. Don’t risk cracks and chips, or weaken their structure, by using them for anything else. Resist the temptation to tear open crisp packets, nibble your nails or bite off sticky tape! Take extra care around hard foods too. Don’t attempt to bite open nuts with a shell. If you do indulge in the occasional beer, use a bottle opener to access it – not your precious pearly whites!
Visit your dentist regularly
The importance of attending regular dental check-ups can’t be overstated. Maintenance visits are vital to keep you teeth healthy and strong. They allow us to identify, and treat, potential problems before they get worse. They’re also a great opportunity to discuss different treatment options, and dispense guidance and advice.
Dentistry evolves all the time, so make sure you’re aware of everything the Lighthouse Dental Practice has to offer. There are lots of ways we can help you keep your teeth strong. To find out more, or to book an appointment, call us today on 01473 257379. If you’re on Twitter, follow us on @LighthouseDent2. We look forward to seeing you soon.