7 ways to keep a healthy smile

 Grapefruits are Grapefruit iis free of cholesterol, fat, saturated fat and sodium and it will provide your body with plenty of natural antioxidants. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Natalie E.)

Grapefruits are Grapefruit iis free of cholesterol, fat, saturated fat and sodium and it will provide your body with plenty of natural antioxidants. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Natalie E.)

Below are seven factors that may or may not affect your gorgeous smile: 

1. Blueberry blues

Blueberries are considered a miracle or wonder food by many researchers due to their antioxidant properties and anti-aging effects.  These delicious berries can be less than wonderful for your teeth, however.  Blueberry juice can leave a characteristic blue stain on otherwise white teeth if their juice remains on the enamel for an extended period, so be sure to brush and floss after consuming this healthy treat to ensure the brightest, most beautiful smile.

2. CDC and cavity prevention

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that in 2011, almost one-fourth of adults aged 20 and over had untreated cavities.  Failure to treat these conditions can lead to tooth loss and a less attractive smile, so it's essential to maintain regular checkups and obtain treatment for cavities immediately to keep those pearly whites sparkling.  The good news is that the number of cavities is decreasing across the country; dentists attribute this to the increased use of dental sealants and improved dental hygiene practices at home.

3. Carcinogens vs. smiles

Cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco products are among the greatest enemies of your smile.  These substances can cause cancer of the gums and mouth and leave nicotine stains on teeth that require professional whitening services to remove.  Smokeless products can cause significant and dangerous spikes in blood pressure in some users.  By avoiding tobacco products altogether, you can protect the beauty of your smile and the health of your teeth, mouth and gums to enjoy a healthier, happier life.

4. Smiling causes stress?

Smiling causes endorphins to be released into the bloodstream.  This occurs even when the smile is forced or faked.  Endorphins are powerful neurotransmitters that act as mood elevators and can have a significant impact on mood.  Developing a warm, natural smile can not only help you in the social environment but can make a positive difference in your overall stress levels and happiness as well.

5. Importance of flossing

Proper flossing can reduce your chance of developing periodontal disease as well as ensuring the health and beauty of your teeth.  Periodontal disease has been linked to increased mortality rates.  By treating gingivitis immediately and halting its progress, you can avoid developing periodontal disease and reduce your chances of developing these serious illnesses.  Flossing can improve the quality of your smile and allow you to keep smiling longer.

6. Best whitening methods

Professional tooth whitening at the dentist's office is significantly more effective than comparable at-home whitening methods.  Strips only work on the front six teeth and do not provide the same degree of whitening.  Over-the-counter tooth whitening methods are generally less concentrated than professional formulations and cannot produce the same dazzling-white results.  While dental procedures may cost somewhat more, most patients feel that the improved results justify the additional expense.

7. Citrus weakens enamel

Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges contain large amounts of citric acid.  Be sure to brush thoroughly after eating these delicious fruits, as prolonged exposure can damage the enamel of your teeth and make you more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay.  Don't avoid these fruits, however, as the vitamin C they contain is vital for maintaining good gum health and avoiding gingivitis and periodontal disease.

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