Did you know going to the dentist for an exam every six months could help you achieve your goals in life? Here are 5 reasons why people with healthy smiles are more successful:

1. People with Healthy Smiles are More Confident

office workers around a desk with healthy smiles

Healthy smiles are the result of healthy routines.

Numerous studies have confirmed the link between confidence and good oral health. Americans reportedly believe people with straight teeth are 45% more likely to get a job and 58% more likely to have a high income.

A good smile does wonders for your self-esteem, making you feel like you were made for success. It’s much easier to visualize yourself in a job you like when you also like the smile you see in the mirror.

You’ve probably come across at least a few people who seem to have attained fame and wealth solely because of their smiles! It’s only natural to react positively to a perfect smile, which is why this attribute is so crucial in many industries, such as real estate, human resources or food service.

Learn more: The Power of A Healthy Smile

2. People with Healthy Smiles are More Disciplined

As any gym rat will tell you, the discipline you devote to your health reflects in your career. After all, it’s difficult to imagine people who are careful about their teeth being careless about their work.

People who have seen the results of a healthy routine carry this discipline into every other facet of life. They take care of their teeth every day no matter what, and same concept applies to getting their work done.

3. People with Healthy Smiles are Healthier

As the ancients said: healthy body, healthy mind. Healthy people feel better throughout the day and therefore have a higher productivity rate. Even if you don’t go to the gym every week, your chances for serious oral health conditions decrease significantly when you see your dentist every six months.

Some of these conditions include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney disease, and pneumonia. Regular dental visits give you more time on Earth by eliminating oral bacteria and plaque that would otherwise spread throughout your body, wreaking havoc on everything from your heart to your brain.

4. People With Healthy Smiles are Less Likely to Smoke or Drink

Maintaining good oral health means staying away from habits that damage your teeth. This might be a hard pill to swallow but in addition to cigarettes, researchers have linked alcoholic beverages to several oral health problems.

Both can have adverse effects on your career, and not just because they may lead to a laundry list of potentially fatal diseases.  Having to step outside for a cigarette multiple times throughout the day limits productivity, as does showing up to work hung over.

5. People With Healthy Smiles Have Better Love Lives

Nothing improves confidence like a healthy love life, which is very difficult to achieve without a brilliant smile. In fact, a 2013 survey of approximately 5,000 single adults found that straight, white teeth was the first thing they look for when assessing a potential romantic partner.

This suggests that people with good oral health are more likely to find a spouse. Further research has proven that married people work harder and make more money.

Success Never Looked So Good!

In regards to career opportunities, visiting the dentist every six months is one way of “leveling the playing field,” or keeping yourself in the running for the jobs you want. The moment you start neglecting your oral health, your prospects for success begin to dwindle.

This is why it’s important to remember that even if you aren’t a salesman or Hollywood actor, your teeth helped you get to where you are today and will take you even higher as long as you continue to prioritize oral health.

Read next: Valentine’s Day – All Smiles

Do you want to keep your teeth? If so, brushing and flossing need to become habitual. Why? Because if you don’t embrace brushing and flossing, you could have unpleasant and painful consequences like bleeding gums and rotting teeth.

You may develop excruciating dental abscesses. Your teeth may all fall out, but only after causing you indescribable pain. Teeth that don’t fall out may become so loose that they move around in your mouth.

What Happens When you Skip Brushing and Flossing?

At some point, you’ll almost certainly develop bad breath. Your teeth will start to look discolored; they may turn yellow or take on a brownish or blackish color. Sticky gunk called plaque will accumulate on your teeth and eventually harden into calculus or tartar.

Plaque, calculus and tartar are all loaded with bacteria and toxins that inflame the gums and cause cavities. If the cavities are allowed to progress, you will start to experience severe tooth pain whenever you try to eat.

Meanwhile, your gums will begin to shrink and pull away from your teeth. They’ll develop pockets where bacteria and toxins hide and multiply while they eat away at your gum tissue. At some point, your gums will shrink so much that they will no longer be able to hold your teeth in place. As a result, your teeth will get loose and start to fall out.

What Causes Problems With Teeth And Gums?

Food particles get stuck in your teeth whenever you eat. At any given moment, millions of hungry bacteria are scavenging for food inside your mouth.

They feed on the food particles stuck in your teeth, and the longer you wait to remove these food particles by brushing and flossing, the more bacteria these food particles will attract.

As long as there is something good to eat, these invisible invaders will hang around in your mouth and feast on whatever they find. Over time, they will make a total mess of your teeth and gums.

As they consume the food particles stuck in your teeth, they produce acid. The acid eats away at the protective enamel covering your teeth, and the next thing you know, you have cavities. Meanwhile, all those tiny bacteria are emitting volatile sulfur compounds that produce bad breath.

Can I Develop Other Health Problems If I Don’t Take Care Of My Teeth?

Not caring for your teeth and gums can have devastating consequences that might not become obvious until you reach your 30s. By then, you could be in the market for gum surgery and dentures.

However, if you address the situation by committing to healthy oral care immediately, your dentist may be able to stabilize your condition and keep things from getting worse. Unfortunately, dentists cannot reverse the damage that’s already been done. To prevent further deterioration, you will have to take exceptionally good care of your teeth and gums for the rest of your life.

Commit to Brushing and Flossing Regularly

All of these problems can be easily avoided with proper oral hygiene and regular dental care. When you brush and floss every day, your teeth and gums will not develop the problems caused by food particles stuck in your teeth.

When there are no food particles for bacteria to feed on, they cannot take over your mouth. Thoroughly brushing all the surfaces of your teeth will get rid of about 65 percent of food particles. Proper flossing between teeth will remove the rest.

Read next: 4 Most Overlooked Oral Health Problems

Baking soda and water.

Add a teaspoon of either baking soda or sea salt to a cup of water, gargle and spit, and then rinse with clean water.

Have you run out of a basic oral hygiene product? No problem.

There are a number of fairly common household items that can stand in for your favorite toothpaste or dental floss until you can make it to the store.

Here are a few time-tested tips and tricks for making do with what you (probably) have on hand the next time you run out of dental care basics or – bummer! – your 2 year old accidentally drops your toothbrush into the john.

Oral care without a toothbrush:

  • Use your finger: place a dab of toothpaste on your pointer finger and rub all the surfaces of your teeth
  • Try a wash cloth: Wrap a terry wash cloth around a fingertip, apply paste, and use the improvised brush to brush as normal
  • Chew sugar free gum: Chewing sugar free gum when you can’t brush can help to reduce plaque and prevent cavities

Oral care without toothpaste:

  • Do without: use your toothbrush dry or with a little water to brush as you normally would
  • Use baking soda or sea salt: dampen the bristles of the toothbrush and dip them into a shallow dish of either baking soda, sea salt or a mixture of both, and go to it – Gently!
  • Use coconut oil: place a small amount of coconut oil (which recent studies suggest can help fight tooth decay) on your toothbrush and brush as usual

Oral care without floss:

  • Try a toothpick: while a toothpick is certainly not the recommended method for cleaning between teeth, it’s still better than nothing when there’s no floss on hand
  • Use a length of sewing thread: gently draw the thread between your teeth as you would with dental floss, but be careful that it does not snap up against the gum too aggressively
  • Use a piece of paper: while not really workable for cleaning all your teeth, a piece of paper may help to dislodge articles between front teeth when dental floss or another interdental device is unavailable: careful though – paper can cut

 Oral care without mouthwash:

  • Make a baking soda or sea salt rinse: add a teaspoon of either baking soda or sea salt to a cup of water, gargle and spit, and then rinse with clean water
  • Try vinegar: like salt, vinegar is one of the most ancient of mouthwash ingredients; simply gargle, spit, and rinse
  • Raid the liquor cabinet: in a pinch, an alcoholic beverage such as vodka or brandy can be used as an effective oral rinse

Don’t put off replacing basic oral hygiene products

Of course, none of the tips and tricks above are meant to be permanent replacements for dentist-approved oral care products. However, the next time you forget to pack a toothbrush or discover there are only 2 inches of dental floss left, at least you’ll have some ideas to help you get by.

And here’s a final tip – stock up on the items you use, and you’ll never have to try any of the tips in this post.

So, what do you use when you run out of an oral hygiene product?

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It’s estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, which is the most common cause for adult tooth loss. That’s especially surprising in this day and age, because the means for prevention is well known: regular basic oral hygiene. So, let’s take a few minutes to review…

The top 5 dental care practices for good oral health

Basic dental care

Brush up on basic dental care.

A regular, daily oral care routine has been shown to help prevent cavities and periodontal disease. Add to that regular exams and smart choices about longer-term oral health strategies, and you can keep your teeth healthy for your entire lifetime.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 dental hygiene practices you need to follow to protect and preserve your oral health.

1. Brush your teeth, of course, but be sure you do it properly

Basic dental care  begins with brushing. To provide the best protection against plaque – the bacteria film that forms on teeth and gums after eating, which degrades the tooth’s enamel – proper brushing technique is key.

Here’s a refresher on how to brush your teeth:

  • Use a toothbrush that is right for you: toothbrushes vary in size, bristle strength, and other factors, and you should use one that allows you to reach all your tooth surfaces easily (ask your dentist or oral hygienist if you need help choosing)
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Hold the brush against your teeth at a slight angle, and brush gently back and forth with short motions about the width of one tooth
  • To brush the inside surfaces of front teeth, use a gentle up-and-down stroke
  • Ensure that all the surfaces of your teeth – inner, outer, and chewing surfaces – are well brushed
  • Finally, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and – while you’re at it – be sure to brush your tongue as well, to help remove any remaining bacteria and promote fresh breath

2. Floss between teeth frequently 

Flossing your teeth is another important way to maintain oral health. Even after thoroughly brushing your teeth, bacteria that can lead to tooth decay may remain between your teeth. To remove any stubborn bacteria between your teeth and at the gum line, frequent flossing is strongly recommended.

Here are some tips for successful flossing:

  • Use about one-and-a-half feet (18”) of floss, wrap it around the pointer or middle fingers of each hand, and insert the floss gently into the crevice between your teeth
  • Start at one end of the floss, and move it through your fingers an inch or so each time that you move on to the next tooth, so each tooth crevice gets flossed with a clean, new section
  • Gently rub the floss against the tooth and gum line; when you reach the gum line, place the floss in the space between the tooth and gum and press the floss lightly against the tooth while you move the floss up and down
  • Work your way from one corner of your mouth all the way around to the beginning again, one tooth crevice at a time, including the back sides of the teeth at the ends of each row
  • Explore different varieties of floss, floss holders, or interdental cleaners until you find what feels and works best for you

3. Eat a healthy diet

To maintain optimal oral health, eat a balanced diet with only a moderate amount of sweets or snacks. Whether you choose the Mediterranean diet, the FDA food pyramid, or some other dietary system to follow, the key to good nutrition ultimately comes down to consuming a wide and balanced variety of foods.

When it comes to your teeth, not all foods are created equal. 

When it comes to your teeth, though, not all foods are created equal. Sweet, sticky snacks such as preserves, candy bars, and dried fruit, can be a threat to teeth and should be avoided unless it will be possible to brush soon after eating them. Some choices for snacking that are less prone to promote tooth decay include vegetables, nuts, and popcorn.

To learn more about the important role diet plays in oral health, talk to your dentist, oral hygienist, or family doctor.

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4. Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly

Now that we’ve covered the three must-do daily regimens for oral health, let’s look at two longer-term strategies for basic dental hygiene. The first of these is regular, professional dental exams and cleanings. To maintain optimal dental health, most dentists and health professionals agree that you should visit the dentist twice yearly for a regular check-up.

Routine teeth cleaning by a professional dental hygienist is an indispensable component of one’s dental health regimen. A dental cleaning, or “prophylaxis,” is the first line defense in the field of preventative dentistry, and as such it is right up there with brushing and flossing in overall importance.

Regular visits to the dentist’s office not only help keep teeth as beautiful as possible: they also help keep teeth as healthy as possible. Your regular visits allow dental professionals to monitor your dental health so they can spot and correct any potential problems as early as possible.

Your dentist or hygienist may also suggest adding personalized elements to your daily oral care routine based on your specific situation. For example, they may suggest rinsing with mouthwash, using toothpaste with a specific ingredient, or taking a fluoride supplement.

5. Plan ahead for good oral health

Finally, planning ahead is an important strategy for maintaining long-term dental health.

Prevention is key

Prevention is crucial to protecting your oral health. Click to view related infographic.

Planning ahead for optimal health means knowing what to do in an emergency. Before you find yourself in an emergency dental situation, talk with your family dentist about the best ways to deal with various dental problems that might arise.

If you understand in advance what to do in an emergency – such as a bitten tongue, broken tooth, or impacted wisdom tooth – you might just save a tooth or two.

Planning ahead for optimal health also means having adequate dental insurance coverage. There are a wide variety of dental plans, features, and services available that help people to cover the costs of their dental care needs, from simple checkups to root canals and everything in between. 

You can learn all about dental insurance basics, such as deductibles, co-insurance, and premiums, in the dental resources section.

A lifetime of happy, healthy smiles

To keep your teeth in the best possible health, be sure that you understand proper dental hygiene and the other elements of basic dental care. With proper dental hygiene, regular professional care, and the right planning to meet your needs, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Which parts of your oral care routine need a brush up?

Learn More

http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/adults.htm

http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/children.htm

http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/seniors.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00003

Not to freak you out, but a study from the University of Manchester in England found that one uncovered toothbrush stored in a bathroom could be home to more than 100 million bacteria. The same study found the presence of dreaded E. coli bacteria, which is notorious for causing diarrhea, as well as staphylococci bacteria, which can cause skin infections.

Toothbrushes may be home to nasty bacteria.

Learn about keeping the bacteria on your toothbrush under control.

So, if our toothbrushes are harboring so much nasty bacteria, how are we supposed to keep our teeth clean?!

Let’s look at the facts, shall we? First of all, the purpose of brushing your teeth is to remove bacteria that cause plaque from our teeth. So, technically speaking, a toothbrush is going to come out of our mouths “dirty.” That’s just good dental hygiene. Further, the mouth is naturally home to millions of microorganisms, anyway, so it’s not like our bodies can’t take a little bacteria. What’s important about this study is that we should be vigilant about  our efforts for toothbrush care.

Another fact: brushing your teeth most often occurs in a bathroom. Bathrooms have toilets. Toilets have bacteria (notably E. coli, which can be found in fecal matter). Gross. But there it is. Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet for optimal dental hygiene.

Can you get sick brushing your teeth with a microorganism-infested toothbrush? Probably not. A healthy body’s natural defenses can keep most bacteria at bay.

HOWEVER:

Yet another fact: If you share your toothbrush with someone else, their bacteria get on your toothbrush. That’s not good dental hygiene, especially if they’re sick or you’re sick or immunocompromised in any way (on chemo therapy, for example). And because sometimes we get sick without showing symptoms right away, sharing a toothbrush is a big no-no. And that means sharing with anyone. Someone else’s bacteria don’t care if a new mouth belongs to your boyfriend or wife or kid. It will likely upset the balance of bacteria in that new mouth, and that’s where trouble begins.

Toothbrush care tips

Keeping the bacteria on your toothbrush under control is not all that hard to do. Here are some toothbrush care tips:

  • Change your toothbrush (or electric toothbrush head) every three to four months – more frequently if you or your child are sick. The ADA recommends it for optimal dental hygiene, so you should do it. Period.
  • Rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing your teeth. Toothbrush sanitizers currently on the market are acceptable, as well, but not necessarily any better.
  • Let your toothbrush dry properly. Avoid using any kind of toothbrush cover or cap after brushing your teeth, which can create a moist bacteria breeding-ground. Just allow the brush to air dry.
  • Store your toothbrush upright and “alone.”  When you place a toothbrush on a counter top to dry, whatever bacteria lives on that counter could migrate to your toothbrush. Also, keeping multiple toothbrushes in a cup increases the likelihood of their touching, thus swapping germs.
  • No sharing. Children and adults should have their own, easily identifiable toothbrushes.

Remember: your teeth need to be brushed.  They won’t clean themselves.

It’s important to remember that your teeth need to be brushed.  They don’t clean themselves. Good dental hygiene means removing plaque-forming bacteria by brushing your teeth. Follow these few basic toothbrush care guidelines and all you’ll have to worry about is what color your toothbrush is.

Do you have any personal tips or tricks for staying on top of oral hygiene? Leave a comment below to share your insights!

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