(ARA) - Your smile is one of the first qualities people notice about you, and everyone can benefit from brighter, whiter, healthier teeth. But unless you're a celebrity who gets paid millions to smile, you may not keep up on your dental care as well as you should. Here are ways to keep your teeth healthy and bright -- and they're easy enough to make you smile.
Oral health is directly connected to your overall health. Making even the smallest change to your dental health regimen can have a big impact on your smile, as well as the way you look and feel. The experts at 1-800-DENTIST share 5 easy steps to brighter, whiter, healthier teeth:
1. Brush and floss your teeth every day.
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day; it's one of the easiest and best things you can do for your oral health. Dental plaque starts releasing harmful acids that can erode tooth enamel as soon as you eat and too much plaque can lead to gum disease. Floss at least once every day to get plaque and food out of hard-to-reach places where bacteria can flourish.
2. Use your dental insurance.
Not everyone has dental insurance, but if you're lucky enough to have it, use it! Find out what procedures your insurance covers and check with your dentist to make sure they accept the type of dental insurance you have. To find a dentist who accepts your dental insurance, visit 1800dentist.com.
3. Visit your dentist every 6 months.
The American Dental Association recommends you see a dentist for a professional cleaning and exam every 6 months. If you have a dental problem in between regular visits, don't try to self-diagnose. Your dentist is the only one who can tell you if a toothache is something more serious; and the sooner you see the dentist the better you'll feel. Waiting can mean more extensive, and more expensive, treatment in the future.
4. Eat and drink smart.
What you eat and drink can affect your dental health. Snacks like candy and cookies and beverages like sodas and juices are loaded with sugar that can lead to cavities. Replace at least one sugary snack with a smart snack like carrots, broccoli or nuts and drink more water. Remember that coffee, tea and wine can stain your teeth, so drink them in moderation or your smile could become dull.
5. If you don't have a dentist, find one.
For more than 22 years, 1-800-DENTIST has helped millions of people like you find a dentist. When you have a dentist, you like you're more likely to take care of your teeth with brushing, flossing and regular dental visits. Your dentist is your partner in dental health, so he or she should make it easy and comfortable to get the care you need.