Summer is here, which means getting out of the house and enjoying the beautiful weather. Whether you’re planning to head to the beach, take a stroll in the park or play sports, you may want to consider your oral health.
Summer is also a time many people dread because they feel self-conscious about meeting new people. A beautiful smile can leave a lasting impression on others and boost your self-confidence about getting out there and socializing.
If you’re self-conscious about your smile, there are many things you can do to improve your oral hygiene and get a smile you can be proud of. In this article, we’ll discuss our top 10 tips for achieving a beautiful and healthy smile this summer. Let’s begin!
Keep a Good Routine at Home
A healthy smile doesn’t appear overnight. It requires maintaining a good oral hygiene routine at home, including brushing your teeth twice a day, using a quality toothbrush, flossing and mouthwash daily.
Frequent brushing helps to prevent plaque from turning into tartar and keeps your teeth healthier and whiter. Although most people know to brush their teeth at least twice a day, some do it incorrectly.
It’s important to have the correct brushing technique to keep them clean effectively. Make sure to angle the toothbrush’s bristles at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline using just enough pressure causing the gum tissue to turn into a lighter colour. Use small strokes and only focus on brushing one or two teeth at once.
Don’t forget to floss! Flossing eliminates plaque from under the gum lines and between the teeth where a toothbrush is unable to reach. Floss daily to prevent gingivitis, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. Tightly wrap the floss around your finger and slide it into the space between your teeth.
Manoeuvre it up and down under the gum lines a few times. You may experience some bleeding if you’re flossing for the first few times but this should stop after two weeks of consistent flossing.
If you’re bleeding a lot or if the bleeding doesn’t stop quickly, consider seeing a dentist as it could be a sign of moderate gingivitis (or inflamed gums).
Make sure that your toothpaste and mouthwash products contain fluoride. Fluoride is the most effective ingredient to prevent cavities. In addition, it helps to remove tartar, reduce plaque and clean and protect your teeth. We also usually recommend an electric toothbrush as these help ensure you brush for exactly two minutes and help get a consistent deep clean.
Break Bad Habits
Bad habits can absolutely ruin your smile and damage your teeth. Chances are, you’re occasionally guilty of one or more of these behaviours, and breaking these habits can help improve your smile. Before cosmetic smile makeovers we usually recommend reducing or breaking bad habits.
Unfortunately, some habits such as smoking and drinking beverages such as red wine, coffee and tea can impact your tooth colours as they have staining qualities.
Large pockets and dark spaces can develop around the teeth, trapping food particles and bacteria. Frequent smokers tend to have receding gums, bad breath, reduced saliva production, and even tooth loss.
Drinks like coffee, red wine, and tea are known for causing a superficial stain on your teeth that you can’t always remove with brushing.
However, these drinks can also cause internal staining in your enamel if stains are left there for long periods of time. This is significantly harder to reverse.
It’s important to rinse your mouth frequently with water so that the liquid doesn’t sit in your teeth or gums for long periods. You can also opt to drink through a straw to prevent direct contact between the drinks and your teeth, thus preventing staining.
Of course, you can always brush your teeth after a cup of coffee or glass of red wine!
Strengthen Your Enamel
Enamel is a mineralized substance that covers the outer layer of our teeth and protects it from erosion. The tooth enamel acts as a barrier between the inner layers of the tooth and bacteria.
Most dental care and smile makeovers will require strong enamel, which is achieved by eating healthy foods, having a good oral hygiene routine, and breaking bad habits for overall dental wellness.
Limit the consumption of sugary foods since bacteria usually feed on the sugar that you consume, including artificial and non-artificial sugars. Once the bacteria feeds on the sugar, acids will begin to form in your mouth which can wear down your enamel.
Avoid sugary or acidic foods such as ice cream, chewy candies, coffee, carbonated water, and anything with a lot of trans-fat.
For a great smile, we recommend consuming calcium-rich foods since calcium can slow down tooth decay.
Cheese, milk, and other dairy products can also have a positive impact on the health of your teeth.
Book Regular Cleaning Appointment
Seeing your dental hygienist every six months is one of the keys to a beautiful smile. At every visit, you’ll undergo teeth cleaning, a dental treatment that involves removing films of plaque and tartar from your teeth.
Irregular cleanings may lead to periodontal disease, which causes people to experience swollen and bleeding gums.
A good way to keep your teeth clean in between appointments is to use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash products. It helps to prevent tooth decay by mineralizing the teeth, strengthening them, and preventing bacterial overgrowth.
Although brushing and flossing are essential, your hygienist can get rid of the dullness and discolouration in your teeth that are hard to remove at home. They will also screen your teeth for potential health conditions like oral cancer, and early signs of fractures or broken fillings.
Getting frequent dental cleanings will also save you money on dental expenses in the future because you can pre-emptively detect potential dental health conditions.
Consider Whitening Your Teeth
Today, there are many ways to whiten your teeth. You can choose from teeth whitening strips, toothpaste, rinses, gel pens, laser whitening, over-the-counter trays, and custom trays.
Depending on your budget and what you’re looking for, each method has a unique benefit to help you solve certain problems.
The prices for these options also vary greatly. Strips are an affordable at-home option to get immediate results and a box of strips may cost you between £5 – £30.
While, gel or laser procedures performed by dentists may cost between £250 and £800. These will typically have longer-term results with much less sensitivity but can only be completed if prescribed by a qualified dentist.
For minor stains from coffee or soda, toothpaste is the best option. Gel pens can be used for small touch-ups, which use bleaching gel on your teeth. Once the gel is applied, it solidifies into a film.
After 30 minutes, the film dissolves and produces a white smile. Laser whitening procedures and custom trays provide the best results and are ideal for more severe cases of yellow teeth that can’t be whitened easily.
If you have sensitive teeth it is usually not advised to use over the counter whitening as these can increase the sensitivity and lead to pain. In this case a dentist can advise on the best solutions. However, they require professional help from dentists and cost more.
Don’t Skip Routine Checkups
Unfortunately, most people only schedule dental checkups when they have a problem. However, it’s better to prevent a problem rather than trying to cure it before it’s too late. The goal of dentistry is to help diagnose, prevent and treat conditions, diseases, and disorders of the teeth, mouth, gums, and jaws.
Thus, visiting a dentist twice a year is important for your dental health because you can reduce cavities and have healthier gums. A routine checkup consists of two parts, including examining your oral health and cleaning your teeth.
During the examination process, a dentist will use X-rays to identify any issues such as cavities, tooth decay, and signs of gum disease.
Next, your dentist will perform basic cleaning procedures to remove tartar and plaque buildup. Once the cleanup is finished, your dentist will advise on a follow-up plan.
This includes any further work that you may need, such as a root canal or dentures.
Gum health is an important aspect of oral health and maintaining a beautiful smile. Skipping dental visits can lead to gum disease, which may require surgery.
If gum disease is left untreated for too long, it can result in oral cancer.
So when do you need surgery?
Gingivitis is a mild type of gum disease that a dentist can treat, but periodontitis is an advanced type of gum disease that causes damaged tissue, bone, and inflammation. As a result, people with periodontitis may require gum surgery for treatment.
At the same time, a dentist specialising in gums (a periodontist) offers gum surgery as a way for patients to improve their smiles. Some patients may see a cosmetic dentist when their gums cover part of their teeth, referred to as a ‘gummy smile.’ The invention of new technology over the past 20 years has provided many new options to improve your teeth by changing the shape and health of your gums.
There are different types of gum surgery, and each is used depending on your circumstance. Patients with gum disease will usually have the bacteria removed and may have some tissue-stimulating proteins or bone grafts inserted to allow the gum tissue to regenerate.
In the second case, the dentist will remove the overgrown gum tissue for cosmetic purposes, which makes your teeth appear longer.
Look Into Dental Crowns or Veneers
Dental crowns and veneers are restoration methods that improve the function and look of your teeth. The crown covers the entire tooth, while a veneer only covers the front of the tooth.
We recommend getting a crown or veneer if you have a condition such as crooked, decayed, cracked, broken, chipped, or discoloured teeth. They usually will match the colour of your teeth so that they won’t ruin your smile, except for metal crowns.
The crown is 2 mm thick and covers the entire tooth, and is made from porcelain fused to a metal alloy. In contrast, a veneer is a 1 mm thick layer of porcelain or other material that bonds to the front of your tooth.
A crown helps to support a tooth that has been damaged by decay, cover a dental implant, hold a broken tooth together and improve the appearance of a tooth.
Dental veneers can provide many cosmetic benefits, such as closing gaps and concealing imperfections. Veneers are custom-fit so that they can change the size, length, and shape of a patient’s teeth.
Since they are moulded to fit the patient’s teeth, they will appear natural and blend in perfectly with your existing teeth. They are therefore one of the fastest routes to a transformed but natural looking smile.
Porcelain veneers are specifically designed to be more resistant to stains than your real teeth.
So which one should you get?
Patients who have their teeth already intact but want a better appearance should get veneers since they provide the best minor shape corrections.
However, patients who have a large filling such as a root canal may opt to get a crown.
Get Implants for Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can ruin not only a perfect smile but also affect the health of your other teeth and impact the function of the mouth for example pronouncing challenging words and being able to eat comfortably.
Dental implants are metal fixtures that are fastened to your jawbone through surgical procedures. Essentially, they are replacement tooth roots that provide a solid foundation for replacement teeth to match your natural teeth.
A dentist who is experienced in implants and cosmetic dentistry will provide these implants to help you replace missing teeth.
In addition, implants can improve speech. That’s because poorly-fitted dentures may lead to teeth that slip in your mouth when speaking.
Your long-term oral health can improve since the neighbouring teeth are left intact and not altered to support the implant.
Straighten Your Teeth
Misaligned teeth are quite common. However, this doesn’t mean we have to live with crooked teeth forever.
There are many accessible orthodontic procedures to have your teeth straightened, such as metal bracket braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, Invisalign, and veneers.
These procedures usually involve seeing an orthodontist to get a mould of your teeth to ensure these oral devices are custom-fitted. Most people think of braces as very ugly-looking metal brackets. However, with newer technology most people are able to avoid metal braces and find more aesthetically pleasing options.
Braces now come in multiple forms. The traditional metal brackets are still used, and are a cheap and effective route to straightening teeth. Metal brackets help connect your teeth with a thin wire through each bracket. Ceramic brackets use a different material and are a thin wire that runs across your teeth without the bracket. It’s more aesthetically appealing but can stain more easily compared to metal brackets.
Lastly, lingual brackets are metal brackets that go in the back of your teeth. As a result, these braces won’t draw attention to your teeth as they can’t be seen easily.
However, they are more expensive and can only be used for people with small degrees of crookedness.
Invisalign is a form of clear aligner that looks similar to a retainer. These aligners are barely noticeable compared to braces. They won’t affect the aesthetics of your smile during treatment and can be physically removed from your mouth when eating. This also helps when you brush and floss your teeth.
Veneers are a great option for minor crookedness. With this solution, you won’t shift your teeth into a different position.
Instead, veneers are thin caps that go over your existing teeth. They are a great option if you want quick results because it only takes a couple of appointments to complete.
Having an imperfect smile can affect your confidence and how others perceive you, whether consciously or unconsciously.
It isn’t just about the cosmetic benefits.
By improving your oral hygiene, breaking bad habits, and visiting oral health specialists such as a dentist, periodontist, or orthodontist, you can obtain a beautiful smile and enjoy your summer with confidence!