How to Keep Your Smile Looking Younger Than it’s Age!

How to Keep Your Smile Looking Younger Than it’s Age!

With the holiday season upon us, we all hope to look our best when we reunite with family and friends, sometimes after several months or years. Did you know that as the years pass, our smile is one of those things that we have control over- that makes us look our best and can actually make us look younger?

A smile is often the first thing you notice about a person. It lights up your face and, studies show that, if you have a nice one, it can actually make you look younger and more attractive to others. So, how do you keep your smile looking young instead of revealing your age? Luckily, there are plenty of little steps you can take to avoid the receding gum lines, inflammation and periodontal disease, as well as yellowing and shifting teeth that are often associated with an aging smile.

  1. Keep Your Mouth Moist. 

As we get older, dry mouth becomes a frequent complaint- particularly as a common side effect of blood pressure and other medications. Less saliva is bad news for your oral health as saliva is what helps prevent decay and infections in the mouth.

The answer?  The National Institute of Health recommends chewing on sugarless gum or sucking (not biting) on sugarless candy to help keep the saliva flow going in your mouth. These are also great alternatives to sugary drinks like juices and sodas– that create acids in the mouth which eat away at tooth enamel. Just be careful—choose the mint and menthol flavors as sugar free products are also associated with tooth decay if they contain citric acid, which fruit flavored sugar-free candies often do.

  1. Avoid stains. 

Discolored teeth age us instantly. As we get older, our teeth do get darker. As we age, the internal part of the tooth begins to shrink, while the amount of dentin — which is yellowish — increases. As the enamel wears down, we see more and more of the dentin showing through.

To blame are our diets and lifestyle choices. Red wine, some carbonated drinks, coffee and teas can all cause surface stains. Think about it this way: Anything that will stain a carpet will stain your teeth.

Ifit’s your morning caffeine you can’t resist, try switching from coffee or black tea to green or herbal teas which are less likely to stain. And while you may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately afterwards, it’s best to swish with water and then wait at least 30 minutes before you brush, so you don’t damage your enamel.

  1. Cut back on snacking. 

We know snacking can be bad for our waistline, but it’s also not great for our oral health. Frequent snacking can keep the acid levels high in your mouth for an extended time as you snack throughout the day. Sugar is obviously found in junk foods, but it is also in things like bread and cereal. They produce acids which, in turn, contribute to a breakdown of your tooth enamel. Also avoid hard candies, which are akin to giving your teeth a bath in sugar while you suck on them all day.  Consider snacking on things like celery sticks or cucumber slices, that won’t linger on your teeth.

  1. Whiten and brighten. 

As we age and our enamel thins out, our teeth are bound to lose some of their luster. Depending on which route you want to go and how much you want to spend, there are a variety of whitening products on the market which can help you get your teeth several shades whiter. Some over-the-counter whitening productscan be a more convenient, economical option but most people find thenumber of options overwhelming.I always suggest that patients ask their dentist or use to find out which home whitening products really work.You can also get custom-made whitening trays to fit your teeth with a trip to the dentist. Or, if you don’t want to fuss with whitening at home, dentists can do an in-office session, with options like laser whitening and bleaching. Keep in mind that whitening treatments can sometimes cause sensitivity and gum irritation, so you should use a bleaching regimen recommended and overseen by Dentists.

  1. Fight inflammation. 

Food or bacteria around the tooth that enter your bloodstream can lead to inflammation. Not only does that inflammation imply gum disease, but it also can contribute to chronic diseases in the body, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Think of it this way, anything that’s good for your body is also good for your oral health. Gums are skin; Skin does two things: it keeps blood in and germs out. If your gums are inflamed, they will often bleed when you brush. Bleeding gums means that there are holes in the skin letting the blood out and by extension, letting germs in.

How can you stave off inflammation?Brush and floss properly — for at least two minutes — twice a day. Include foods in your diet that are thought to keep inflammation at bay. Foods like fatty fish, which are rich in Omega-3s, beets, kale, tomatoes, blueberries and garlic are known to help fight inflammation.  Many spices, including turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, have also been known to help.