The benefits of seeing your dentist every six months stretch far beyond simply having healthier, better-looking teeth. Oral health is directly connected to your overall wellbeing. Every time you make a dentist appointment, your chances of enjoying the future increase.

The truth is, some of life’s best rewards will most likely go to people with good oral health. Here are just five rewards, all of which are much harder to get if you don’t take care of your teeth:

1. A Longer Life

happy retirees on the beach - oral health benefits

Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and oral health exams confer benefits that can help keep you smiling for years.

When you see your dentist often, you lower your risk for a large range of ills. If left untreated, oral bacteria causes gum disease and tooth decay. It can even enter the blood and spread plaque through the body.

Depending on your family history, this could put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and cancer. It can even lead to diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Here’s the thing, though. Oral bacteria are incredibly easy to eliminate. Your dentist can help you to stave off these diseases through the benefits of regular exams and cleanings. That is, as long as you manage plaque build up by keeping your regular dentist appointments.

2. Higher Income

Speaking of benefits, research has shown that people with great teeth and smiles are more likely to earn higher salaries and get more job opportunities than people who seem to view their smile as less of a priority. One study used fake job interviews and found that those who had the best smiles were viewed as more confident and skilled.

Learn more: Dental Inequality in America

This isn’t much of a surprise, though. It’s only natural for someone with good oral health to be seen as serious, disciplined, and concerned about his or her effect on others. So, if you want to make your dream job a reality, it can help to keep up with regular dental visits.

3. More Money in the Bank

People with good oral health tend to have lower bills as they get older. The cost of regular dental visits to prevent problems is a fraction of the cost for the type of reactive care patients who have advanced gum disease may need.

Infographic: Prevent vs. Repair – See why it pays to invest in protecting your teeth.

4. Less Stress

When you work to address oral health problems head on, there is less need to worry about the state of your teeth. People who never skip the dentist also have to worry less about certain foods or beverages causing pain or long-term damage.

With some types of oral health issues, cold or hot foods or drinks can be a problem. When you see your dentist often, she can help you to manage the effects of sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which may be the cause. Lastly, if you have a lot of stress, your dentist will know, and be able to tell you, what you can do to help.

5. Better Love Life

Not only will people who take care of their teeth stay attractive to their partners, but they will also have less difficulty finding romantic partners. In fact, a 2013 survey of nearly 5,500 single adults ages 21 and older revealed straight, white teeth to be the quality single men and women look for most when choosing a mate.

When you visit the dentist every 6 months, you won’t be as worried about your partner seeking greener pastures. And who knows? You may even be able to win over the object of your affections, regardless of your age.

How Much Brighter Could Your Future Be?

Sounds like a happy life, right? You can gain these rewards and a lot more if you simply go to the dentist and follow through with their advice and care.

Missing just one or two appointments might not seem like a big deal. But as you age, you may grow more conscious of how your teeth look and feel. So think of your long-term health and financial strength, and stick to your regular dental exams!

Read next: 4 Most Overlooked Oral Health Problems

Depression is a hot topic in the modern world. Many people struggle with it, and many others are concerned about watching for the signs so they don’t miss something that could potentially save a loved one’s life.

Along with life-threatening concerns like suicide, depression can cause a variety of other problems that most people don’t even realize. Even something as simple as the ability to laugh or smile could be affected.

The first full week of May (7th-13th) recognizes National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week.

The Fear of Smiling: How Does Poor Dental Health Create Ongoing Sadness?

Science has already taught us that an unhealthy mouth can increase your risk of heart problems, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. Did you know that it can also affect your chances of getting depression? Researchers have found a strong relationship between cavities, gum disease and mental health problems.

An unhealthy mouth can lead to problems in many ways, causing you to:

  • Feel ashamed of your teeth.
  • Avoid dating or other social interactions.
  • Experience nagging pain from cavities that lowers your mood and wears on you daily.
  • Have a higher level of inflammation in your body, possibly triggering other health conditions.
  • Abuse drugs, alcohol or painkillers in an effort to reduce anxiety.

Oral Health and Mental Health: How Do You Break the Nasty Cycle?

It’s probably easy to see how this could become an unhealthy self-feeding cycle. Not only does your mood and self-confidence plummet when dealing with dental problems, but a low mood can also cause you to have difficulty taking care of your teeth properly.

Anxiety and isolation cause the body to release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to more cavities and gum disease. As the problem continues to worsen, you lose hope, and eventually, you give up on yourself all together.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to break the cycle by getting your teeth looked at by a professional. If your self-esteem is low, you might not want to do this. You might convince yourself that you don’t deserve treatment, but please know that your health, happiness and smile are all worth fighting for.

Smiling and Happiness: Which Comes First?

You already know that it’s difficult to smile when you’re depressed, but did you know smiling can help reduce sadness? It’s obvious that the emotions that lead to a smile make us feel good, but researchers have discovered that the physical act of smiling can also trick our minds into producing more feel-good chemicals.

A 2009 study from the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who had Botox injections felt happier on average, and it’s believed this might be due to their inability to frown. While Botox is certainly not for everyone, this does shed some light on the fact that simply practicing the act of smiling can help people feel better.

If you’re depressed and haven’t smiled recently, try faking it for a while. If that doesn’t work, find a sweet or funny video to watch. Don’t pressure yourself to heal from your sadness in a day. It’s impossible in most cases.

Instead, focus on setting small, easy-to-accomplish goals, such as spending a few minutes smiling, reaching out to a friend or scheduling an appointment with the dentist. With a good checkup, cleaning and treatment recommendation, you should be on track to healing your dental problems and feeling better about your smile in no time.

Read next: 5 Reasons Healthy Smiles Lead to Success

Healthy smiles help people look great in photos.

A healthy smile helps people look great in photos

With the rise of social media, our smiles have grown more important than ever. Access to high-resolution cameras on phones or tablets mean self-portraits have become the social currency of our times.

These developments have certainly made it quicker and easier to take candid photos. Therefore, people feel the importance of having a camera-ready smile all the time.

While many have mastered the art of always looking good in photos, others shy away from spontaneous photo sessions. Some may be introverts, eccentrics or fiercely private individuals. But for others, the underlying cause of their camera shyness may be as simple as poor oral health.

Anatomy of a Healthy Smile

The one factor that automatically qualifies smiles as appealing is having healthy teeth.

The one factor that automatically qualifies a smile as appealing is having healthy teeth.

If you were to examine the most dazzling smiles on celebrities or commercial models, you’d notice a common element. Fresh, dewy skin and perfect lips help, but these are not a smile’s most important elements. The one factor that automatically qualifies a smile as appealing is having healthy teeth.

Learn more: How This Dentist Became the #1 Pick for Dozens of Supermodels

It’s always possible to smile without exposing your teeth. However, the type of smile that usually draws a reaction is one that flashes your pearly whites in all their well-cared for glory. It’s the kind of smile that almost automatically draws a positive response from others.

Smiling is contagious. Evidence from various social research projects show that humans have an instinct for facial mimicry. It’s a way to develop empathy and understanding of other people’s experiences or feelings.

An inability to mirror the other facial expressions limits your own ability to read verbal and nonverbal cues. It may also prevent you from reacting appropriately in social situations.

Importance of Dental Health

A healthy smile begins with good oral health. There’s no substitute for brushing at least twice daily, flossing once a day and using your choppers only as intended.

It’s tempting to open packages with your incisors or use your canines to cut stuff. Teeth are handier than scissors. However, these practices can damage tooth enamel and roots.

In addition, protect your tooth against undue stress, such as very hard or overly sticky foods and extreme temperature changes. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is good habit to embrace. That’s because only trained and licensed professionals can perform the checks and procedures needed to keep your mouth healthy.

Learn more: Can dental problems cause health problems?

Smiles Should Come Naturally

family group with big smiles

People tend to smile and be more friendly when they feel healthy.

You are more confident when you don’t have to worry about hiding tooth imperfections such as discoloration, chipping or missing teeth. People tend to smile and be more friendly when they feel healthy.

Many put up with these issues. That may be due to fear of dentists, poor access to dental care, financial constraints or lack of dental insurance. Even without such issues, people sometimes suffer from uneven or misaligned teeth. That can make it nearly impossible to smile naturally.

Smile Makeover 101

Smiling is not only a form of expression, it’s also part of a set of critical social skills that help us navigate through life. The good news: an imperfect smile can be made more perfect with proper care and professional help.

With dental insurance, you’ll have access to professional care to help keep your mouth healthy for a camera-ready smile at all times. The month of May is designated as Photograph Month, which would be a good time for a personal smile review and makeover.

Read Next: How This Dentist Became the #1 Pick for Dozens of Supermodels

A Bright and Healthy Smile for Valentine’s Day

Do you have a big date for Valentine’s Day? If so, it’s natural to feel nervous. Whether it’s your first date or a special anniversary, you want to look and feel your best.

You’ve found the perfect outfit and location for the date. Now, what about your mouth? Sadly, people often neglect their oral health. It should be one of the first things people pay attention to.

Clean and Healthy Teeth: The Key to Attracting a Mate

Dates are all about assessment, and it’s safe to assume any potential love interest will pay attention to your mouth. A survey from CosmaLite found 62 percent of people noticed a potential partner’s smile before their eyes or body type. In addition, another 31.3 percent ranked bad breath as the number-one turn off.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, up to 96 percent of adults believe that a beautiful grin makes a person more appealing. This may be more associated with confidence and a friendly attitude than physical attributes. However, if a lack of confidence causes a person to hide their mouth, the results will be the same.

Most communication is non-verbal. Your smile plays a big role in letting your Valentine know how you feel. It’s a huge communicative tool that will go to waste if you don’t feel confident enough to use it. On top of turning off potential partners in general, the fears about bad breath or discolored teeth often keep people from smiling big, wasting one of their biggest gifts. It’s such a shame when you consider how easily people could correct these problems.

Poor Oral Hygiene: A Red Flag

No one wants to kiss someone with poor oral hygiene for physical reasons alone, but many will also consider a lack of self-care to be a major red flag. Anyone can clean up nicely for one date, but unless you continue to practice good oral hygiene habits, you won’t reap the results. It’s easy to get lazy about properly brushing and flossing, and everyone has a bad day here and there, but long-term neglect of your oral health is a sign that you’re lacking self-esteem.

If you want to display real confidence, you have to make an everyday practice of caring for your mouth. Along with brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash designed to help fight plaque and tartar, a good brightening toothpaste can work wonders.

Preparing in Advance: See Your Dentist Early

The safest way to guarantee your oral health will be in top shape for Valentine’s Day is to schedule a visit to your dentist’s office a week or two before. If you want to be safe, do it a month in advance. This will allow time to get any major issues taken care of before the big day arrives. You can also have your teeth cleaned, get a whitening treatment and ask your dentist for tips on making your mouth look and feel its best.

Even if you don’t have a romantic partner or Valentine’s Day date this year, you are still worthy of a fresh and healthy mouth. Don’t fall into depression and let yourself go. You never know when you might meet a potential Valentine, and when you do, you’ll be glad you had that gorgeous smile ready.

For information about how having dental insurance can help you maintain a clean and healthy mouth, please contact us today.

A friendly, beaming and healthy smile generally puts people at ease and makes others feel welcome in your presence. However, years of anecdotal evidence and even professional and academic studies show that a good smile can do much more. Keeping each tooth healthy and looking its best will improve your smile in the long run, and a great smile predicts a longer lifespan, improves self-esteem and carries with it a whole host of other benefits.
Power of SmileBigger Smiles Equal Longer Lives
One of the most remarkable things documented in recent academic studies of smiles is that the bigger one’s smile, the longer one’s life will likely be. Wayne State University studied photos of Major League baseball players found on 1952 baseball cards and found a correlation between the players’ lifespans and their smiling.
Players who smiled on these card photos lived, on average, up to seven years longer than those who did not smile.Why is this? Research is still being conducted, but bigger smiles seem to lead to longer lives because of the effects that smiling has on the human body. Smiling reduces the level of several stress hormones, and a lower stress level means fewer health problems.
Smiling also leads to lower blood pressure, and given that high blood pressure is a serious health issue for many people in our society, it makes sense that those who smile a lot tend to live longer than those who do not smile very often.
In a Bad Mood? Smile and You Will Feel Better
Researchers have also documented that smiling leads to an improved mood. If you want to feel happier, paying attention to oral health and visiting the dentist on a regular basis is key. When you feel confident about your smile, you are going to be more willing to smile, and thus you will smile more often.
Since smiling causes the brain to release endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals, this means that you will feel happier. True, happiness leads to more smiling, but more smiling also leads to more happiness.

 

Smiling Improves Your Relationships
It should be no surprise that those who report feeling the most satisfied in their relationships are those who smile a great deal. Some research involving high school yearbooks has shown that those who smile in their yearbook photos tend to feel as if they have effective relationships and are able to connect with others well.

Researchers surveyed people in their current relationships and then compared their answers with their high school yearbook pictures from several decades ago. The result was that those who reported the most happiness in their relationships also had some of the biggest smiles in their high school photos.

The Smiling, Self-Confident You
People who smile a lot are perceived by others to have greater self-confidence, and self-confidence leads to many good things in life. A high level of self-confidence helps you meet new people, makes you more attractive to prospective employers and helps you recover more quickly after a loss.

If you take good care of your mouth, you will be proud of your healthy smile, and you will show it more. Show that smile more, and you will grow in your self-confidence. At the end of the day, others will definitely take notice.

How to Improve Your Smile
Since smiling leads to so many good things, it is vital to maintain good oral health so that you will want to smile frequently. What can you do to improve your smile and dental health? Experts recommend the following:

Watch Your Diet—Eating too many foods with processed sugars increases your risk of cavities and other dental problems. Your dentist may have also told you that coffee, tea and other beverages can stain your teeth if you are not careful. You do not have to cut out these things entirely, but consuming them in moderation will reduce your odds of cavities and yellowing, both of which make your smile look less than its best.

Brush Regularly—Brushing after every meal is another proven way to improve your smile. Using your tooth brush like your mom told you to will remove germs, bacteria and other enemies of a good smile.

Remember to Floss—Lots of people brush on a regular basis. Fewer people floss as often as they should. Yet flossing is the only way to remove bacteria and germs from certain portions of your mouth. Without flossing, these bacteria and germs will grow and multiply, and you may end up with bleeding gums, cavities and lost teeth. None of those things are conducive to a smile of which you can be proud.

Use Mouthwash—In addition to brushing and flossing, using a good mouthwash will assist you in acquiring the best smile. Mouthwash kills germs you miss when you brush and floss, providing an extra level of smile protection.

• Professional Whitening—Even those who are diligent to care for their smile will find that their teeth get discolored over time. Your dental office can perform professional whitening that will help each tooth look as white as it did the first time it came in to your mouth. A safe, effective whitening procedure is one of the easiest and surest ways to improve your smile.

Regular Dental Checkups—Finally, seeing your dentist regularly will keep your mouth healthy and your smile looking its best. Your dental provider will be able to catch problems before they get serious and harm your smile. Quality dentists also provide a level of care that makes sure your daily routine of brushing and flossing is actually achieving the results you are seeking.

Keep Your Smile Healthy
Good oral health means a healthy smile, which leads to a longer life, a happier disposition and many other benefits. Pay attention to your smile by doing what you can to keep it in good health, and you will reap the rewards.