How to improve your smile

You can get the perfect smile you've always dreamed about.

A simple smile can make a grey day a whole lot brighter – both for the recipient as well as the giver. After all, when someone smiles at you, the natural reaction is to smile back.

Yet you may feel somewhat less inclined to show your teeth when they aren't as aesthetically pleasing as you'd like it to be. Whether it's due to staining, damage, crookedness or several missing teeth, flaws such as these leave many people feeling self-conscious about their smile.

If this sounds familiar, you don't have to grin and bear it. There are a number of things you can do to perfect your imperfect smile, from the simple to the more advanced.

Brush and floss consistently
How often do you brush and floss? If it's anything less than two times a day – ideally in the morning and the evening – you're not doing it enough. Food particles can latch onto your teeth very easily and can create bacteria that leads to decay, resulting in cavities, gum disease, gingivitis and other oral health complications. Try to get into the habit of brushing and flossing twice a day for at least two minutes. If you can, try flossing after each meal or keeping a pack of sugar-free chewing gum handy. Gum increases saliva flow, helping to clean your teeth naturally simply by chewing.

You may also want to try an enamel-safe whitening toothpaste. The activating ingredients can dial up the brightness factor of your teeth by several shades. Speak to your dental health professional for a recommended brand.

Teeth whitening procedures. There are several methods of teeth whitening to consider.

Have your teeth professionally whitened
Coffee, colas, soft drinks, acidic foods – they all contribute to staining, making your once-white teeth yellowish. You can restore it to its former brilliant shade by having your teeth bleached. In as little as one appointment, your dentist can take an impression of your teeth so you can wear custom-made trays, which you wear daily for a certain period. The gel that comes along with the tray is what gets your teeth looking considerably brighter than they were previously. Generally speaking, the trays can take approximately one week to make and your dentist will tell you how long you should wear them to restore them to their previous glow.

Soft drinks with ice in them. Soft drinks can be hard on your teeth.

Eat foods that are good for your teeth
You may be surprised to learn that several types of foods can actually help to clean your teeth. Generally speaking, the best kinds are those that are high in fibre and water content, such as spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and other leafy greens. Apples are great for your teeth as well. Dairy foods like cheese, milk and yoghurt have calcium and phosphates, which in addition to increasing saliva flow, may help to rebuild tooth enamel.

If possible, try to stay away from foods that contribute to tooth decay. Here are a few of the worst offenders:

  • Suckers
  • Caramels
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Coffee
  • Starchy foods (e.g. white bread, potatoes, chips, etc.)

These foods are fine to eat occasionally, but the emphasis should be on occasionally.

Schedule regular cleanings
While all these recommendations can improve your smile, they're not sufficient. You should also ensure you see your dentist twice per year for a professional cleaning. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is they can provide a much deeper level of cleaning than brushing, flossing and smart eating habits. They are also experts at spotting issues early on and treat them so they don't become full-blown problems, which otherwise may require more invasive procedures, like a filling or root canal.

Consider veneers
One of the more popular treatments these days are veneers. Whether you have discoloured teeth, several that are misshapen or out of alignment, veneers are basically thin shells that look and feel like regular teeth but actually attach to your existing teeth. Made from porcelain or composite, veneers can help to increase your confidence and give you the picture perfect smile you've always wanted. If you don't have the time or patience for braces, veneers are a faster alternative and are built to last.

Talk to your dental health professional about whether you're a good candidate for veneers and affordable financing plans.

Replace missing teeth
If you have one, two or several missing teeth, the time has come to have them replaced. You can do just that with a number of options, depending on your situation. For example, if you have multiple teeth missing that are adjacent to one another, a dental bridge can literally fill the gap. This can be fixed or be something you can take out, similar to dentures.

If you want to improve your smile, you can do it – starting today. Contact City Dentists to arrange an appointment; let's get your teeth looking truly terrific!