How many of us have been charmed and dazzled by a white, straight sparkling set of teeth when someone smiles. It can be the single most attractive feature in a face and yet most of us will invest time and money into cosmetics and makeup - leaving our poor smile to let us down.
With the advent of modern technologies and more affordable dentistry, we should all be able to enjoy the luxury of having a smile we can be proud of. If you are still conscious of crooked, misaligned or stained teeth and reluctant to smile widely - read on.
The straight dope
Our teeth are affected by many outside influences beyond our control. Genetic makeup, medications, nutrition and disease may have caused our teeth to be degraded, misaligned or stained. If this is the case for you, don’t despair! Expert help is out there in the form of affordable and effective cosmetic dentistry.
I suffered from a severe overbite for most of my youth and decided to look for help around my local area. I finally hit upon an East Bentleigh dental clinic which transformed my smile into a feature I am truly proud of, rather than one to cover up. My choice was invisible braces which were practically undetectable and yet made a dramatic difference to my whole face and gave me a renewed confidence in myself.
Professional cleaning and inspection
A professional clean and check up by a dentist can catch problems before they become an issue. Nipping decay in the bud can prevent tooth loss which in turn can result in gum shrinkage and misaligned teeth as the remaining teeth move into the vacated space.
Cleaning will also remove plaque which has been left behind after improper cleaning methods. Plaque hidden in the gum line can result in receding of gums which loosens teeth and gives them a long, bony, aged appearance.
Regular flossing will remove particles of food which otherwise can build up and lead to tooth decay. There are a number of plastic devices and water picks on the market - each with the same intention, to remove unwanted matter which may otherwise lead to tooth decay and loss.
66 percent of people have visible plaque on their teeth which may come as a surprise to those of us who brush regularly. The fact is while we may brush often, we may not always brush well.
Brushing teeth twice a day using an electric toothbrush is ideal. Spend at least one and a half minutes brushing the top and the same on the bottom teeth. This may not sound like a long time but set a timer and you may realise that past brushing time has been woefully inadequate.
Whilst mouthwash is often recommended to keep bacteria growth at bay, a cheaper and perhaps safer alternative is to use salt. Two to three times per week after brushing and flossing, rinse with saltwater to inhibit bacterial growth. It is also recommended after tooth extraction to assist in the healing process. Avoid mouthwashes which contain alcohol.
Smoking is not only detrimental to your health but also gums and teeth. Smokers are at increased risk of gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease can infiltrate the bone structure that supports teeth, eventually causing teeth to literally fall out of your head.
Recognise the signs
Understanding and identifying gum disease before it progresses is a major part of protecting and maintaining healthy teeth. Look for the following signs and contact your dentist immediately if you experience them:
- Red, sore or swollen gums
- Gums which are tender or bleed easily
- Pain when chewing
- Teeth which move or are loose
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have receded or pulled away from teeth
Your teeth undergo constant pressure and wear. To ensure they last a lifetime, it is worth implementing a few simple strategies to keep them looking good and performing optimally for many years to come.