Want to Take Years Off Your Smile?

If your smile doesn’t reflect the real you, maybe it’s time for a solution you can sink your teeth into—literally.

It may seem obvious, but the first order of business for a great-looking smile, say dentists, is to focus on the basics. Daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular visits to a dental health professional are the best ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

It is recommended that you visit a dentist at least every six months if not more often, and brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste carrying the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Tobacco use, stress, sleep loss, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and poor nutrition all have an impact on your mouth too. In terms of diet and nutrition, people should watch their intake of sugar and carbohydrates, which produce plaque and acid that rot your teeth.

Whitening solutions

Whiter teeth can also brighten up your smile as you get older. One thing that makes teeth younger looking is to make them whiter. As our teeth age, they tend to get yellow.

Some toothpastes tout whitening capabilities, and retailers now offer a variety of over-the-counter bleaching solutions. These products work best when you’re just trying to fix mild tooth discoloration from foods and beverages, and you closely follow the directions on how to affix them and how long they should be worn. The upside to home remedies is that they are a cheaper alternative if you’re committed.

Cosmetic effects

For those willing to spend a bit more time and money, cosmetic dentistry options continue to expand. Many women visit a cosmetic dentist’s office after seeing their smiles for example, in their children’s wedding photos, and decide they are wanting to make changes. Now it’s their turn to go ahead and do something for themselves – and it can be yours too!

The least expensive treatment is in-office teeth bleaching, a process that costs between $500 and $1,000. Dental implants are also increasingly popular for those who want a minimally invasive way to replace single teeth. Implants can replace bridges or other removable teeth. Bonding composites to fill in gaps, fix discoloration and shape teeth that have shortened from years of grinding and clenching have, with recent technology, become more affordable and more tooth-like, especially if you’re not quite ready for porcelain veneers. The process of replacing teeth with veneers runs between $6,000 and $30,000, depending on the number of teeth you’re replacing.

Oral hygiene benefits

Good oral hygiene doesn’t just benefit your teeth and gums. Research increasingly points to a link between gum disease and other inflammatory conditions including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease and even certain forms of cancer.

A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that the antioxidant catechin, found in green tea, can help ward off gum disease, as can a daily quarter cup of certain dairy products such as yogurt.