Maintain a Healthy, Beautiful Smile

Secrets for pearly whites.

from Stealth Health

14. Drink one 8-ounce glass of water for every hour that you’re at work. That way, when you get home, you’ll have finished your recommended daily eight glasses. If you work at home or part-time, make sure that you drink at least one eight-ounce glass every hour for eight hours. Not only does water help keep your digestive system healthy, control weight, and hydrate your skin, but it also helps keep your teeth even more pearly white. The more water you drink, the more bacteria you flush off your teeth and out of your mouth, which means less risk of gum disease, fewer cavities, and fresher breath.

15. To check the freshness of your breath, lick your palm and smell it while it’s still wet. If you smell something, it’s time for a sugar-free breath mint.

16. Suck — don’t chew — extremely hard foodstuffs such as peanut brittle, hard candy or ice. Chewing these hard foods creates tiny fractures in the enamel of your teeth that, over the years, combine to result in major cracks.

17. Ladies: Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.

18. Chew Big Red gum once a day. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that the cinnamon-flavored chewing gum reduced bacteria in the mouth that cause bad breath. The reason? The gum contains cinnamic aldehyde, a plant essential oil used for flavoring that inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for cavities and periodontal infections. Actually, any kind of sugar-free gum chewed after meals will help remove food particles and wash away bacteria (from the extra saliva chewing gum generates).

19. Eat a container of nonfat yogurt every day. Think of your teeth as external bones; just like your bones, they need adequate calcium to remain healthy and strong.

20. Keep an extra toothbrush by your nightstand or under your pillow as a regular reminder to brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night. They’re the two most crucial times, says Kathleen W. Wilson, M.D., an internist at the Ochsner Health Center in New Orleans and author of When You Think You Are Falling Apart. That’s because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up as you slept.

21. Pour liquids into a cup instead of drinking out of a glass bottle. You could inadvertently bang the bottle against your tooth, chipping it.

22. Carry your own (plastic) bottle of water with you so you can avoid water fountains. Someone could bump you from behind and you could chip or break a tooth on the fountain, says Jeff Golub-Evans, D.D.S., a New York City cosmetic dentist.

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