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8 Steps To A Brighter, Healthier Smile


Registered on 2018. 07. 26
healthy smile

In order to achieve a sparkling smile, you’ll need to treat your teeth to more than just regular brushing. Healthy teeth start with healthy habits — from your brushing routine to the foods you should and shouldn’t eat.

"Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume," says Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA). "So naturally, what you put in your mouth impacts not only the health of your teeth and gums, but also your overall health." That includes beverages, the type and frequency of snacks, and even the gum you chew.

It’s important to go beyond brushing and change your daily habits to get the bright, healthy smile you want. Here's how:

  • Avoid enamel damage. The layer of protective enamel on your teeth is your first defense against cavities, but certain foods and drinks strip it away, putting your smile at risk. Opting for sugar-filled sodas, sticky sweets (such as taffy), sweetened fruit drinks, and sugary snacks promotes tooth decay, Dr. Harms says. "When you eat sugary foods or sip sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel." Be sure to read food labels and choose foods that are lower in sugar.
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods. Your teeth need nutrients to stay strong, white, and cavity-free. "For good dental health, it’s important to eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups," Harms says. This ensures that your teeth get the essential nutrients they need. Calcium, found in dairy products and leafy greens, is especially important for your teeth. Phosphorous, which can be found in proteins such as eggs, fish, poultry, meat, and dairy, is also essential. Both of these nutrients help protect and restore the enamel on your teeth, according to the ADA.
  • Limit snacks. Too much snacking isn't only bad for your waistline; it's bad for your smile, too. "Foods eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day do because more saliva is released during a meal," Harms says. "Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities." Some snacking is inevitable, so make sure to opt for something healthy such as cheese, veggies, nuts, or fruit, the ADA recommends.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Smoking and using any kind of tobacco stains your teeth, but it also affects your whole mouth, the ADA says. It causes gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss as well as oral cancer. If you have oral surgery or a tooth extraction, smoking can slow your healing time. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, find a plan that works for you to quit. Ask your doctor or dentist for help or look for local or online quit programs.
  • Limit teeth-staining culprits. Your favorite beverages might be dulling your smile. Coffee, tea, and red wine are some of the biggest culprits, Harms says. "They have intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the enamel, which is the white, outer part of your tooth." For whiter teeth, cut back on these teeth-staining beverages. To help counteract existing stains, consider using fluoride toothpaste that also whitens teeth, or ask your dentist about whitening treatments to help reverse any damage.
  • Drink plenty of water. It's healthy, it's free, it's widely available, and it's great for your oral health — so try to carry a water bottle with you everywhere and sip all day long. "Drinking water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth, especially if it’s fluoridated," Harms says. Fluoride is considered "nature's cavity fighter," according to the ADA. It helps strengthen your teeth and ward off tooth decay. Water also helps keep your mouth moist and clean and washes away food particles that bacteria feed on.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. It's always beneficial to brush between meals, but if you can't get to a sink, chew sugar-free gum. "Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth," Harms says. "Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel." Opt for gum with a seal from the ADA on the package to be sure it's sugar-free.
  • See your dentist regularly. Be sure to get regular cleanings and checkups in order to spot dental problems before they get out of hand. Early diagnosis and treatment of dental issues is often simpler and more affordable, Harms says, and regular dental visits can help prevent many problems from developing. "Visiting your dentist is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth," she says. Schedule regular checkups with your dentist so your smile is bright, white, and healthy, and to know you're doing all you can for your teeth.
If you are overdue for a dental cleaning, please contact our Federal Way Dentist today.


List of Articles

Periodontal Disease: Causes and Prevention file

  • Oct 16, 2018

What Is It? Periodontitis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that involves inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria found in dental plaque and often, but not always, starts as gingivitis. In trying to eliminate the bacterial infection, your body produces substances that destroy the structures that hold the teeth in the jaw, including the periodontal ligament and underlying bone. As this process continues, the teeth...
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8 Steps To A Brighter, Healthier Smile file

  • Jul 26, 2018

In order to achieve a sparkling smile, you’ll need to treat your teeth to more than just regular brushing. Healthy teeth start with healthy habits — from your brushing routine to the foods you should and shouldn’t eat. "Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume," says Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA). "So naturally, what you put in your mouth impacts not only the health of your teeth and gums, but also your...
Read more

What Are The Stages Of Gum Disease? file

  • May 11, 2018

What is Gum Disease? Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up and the bacteria infect not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. This can cause them to become loose, fall out or have to be removed ...
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Toothbrush Care and Replacement

  • Feb 23, 2018

How can I take care of my toothbrush? To keep your toothbrush and yourself healthy, make sure you let it dry out between uses. Toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria, which after a while can build up to significant levels. After using your toothbrush, shake it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position so that it can air out. To prevent cold and flu viruses from being passed between brushes, try to keep your toothbrush from touching others when i...
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What Are Cavities?

  • Jan 31, 2018

What are Cavities? "Cavities" is another way of saying tooth decay. Tooth decay is heavily influenced by lifestyle, what we eat, how well we take care of our teeth, the presence of fluoride in our water and toothpaste. Heredity also plays a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to decay. While cavities are generally more common among children, adults are also at risk. The types of cavities include: Coronal cavities — the most common type occurring in both children and adults, coronal c...
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Caring For Your Dental Implants

  • Nov 28, 2017

Dental implants have been used successfully for many years. Your implant should last for a very long time if you take the following points to heart. Smoking This is one of the greatest risks for implant-related complications. You should therefore try to quit smoking. Oral Hygiene Thoroughly cleaning and caring for the implant during all steps of the treatment is extremely important. Careful attention to your oral hygiene every day is important for the survival of your implant. Maintenanc...
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Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?

  • Nov 10, 2017

Jennifer Flach was a college junior when her wisdom teeth started making themselves known. "My other teeth started moving around," she remembers. "The wisdom teeth were pushing out and undoing some of the orthodontic work I had done in high school." At the same time, her brother — who's two years younger and was also in college — had no symptoms. But the family dentist suggested his wisdom teeth should come out too. Jen and her brother had back-to-back wisdom tooth extractions and recovered toge...
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Taking Care Of Your Teeth

  • Sep 28, 2017

Teeth for a Lifetime Thanks to better at-home care and in-office dental treatments, more people than ever before are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. Although some diseases and conditions can make dental disease and tooth loss more likely, most of us have a good deal of control over whether we keep our teeth into old age. The most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Most mouth woes are caused by plaque, that sticky laye...
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Severe Tooth Pain file

  • Sep 05, 2017

Any injury to the gums or teeth can be very painful. In some cases, however, the cause of severe dental pain is not obvious. For example, pain that comes on suddenly may be caused by particles of food that got lodged in a cavity and have started to irritate the nerve inside the tooth. If you lose a filling or a crown, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed, and you may feel severe pain when air or hot or cold substances touch the uncovered part of the tooth. Pain that becomes more severe...
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Keys to Controlling Bad Breath file

  • Aug 02, 2017

If you’re serious about learning what’s causing your bad breath, consider scheduling an appointment with your dental professional. Given your full medical and dental history along with an oral examination, your dentist should be able to identify the culprit. The causes of bad breath are numerous and include certain foods, alcohol or cigarettes, poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, diabetes, dry mouth, sinus or throat infections, lung infections or abscesses, kidney/liver failure, gastrointest...
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The contents of this website, such as text, videos, images and other material are intended for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of rendering medical advice. Please contact our Federal Way dentist, Dr. Kenneth Brossel for any additional information on implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, root canals, and more. For questions, please call (253) 925-2171.