4 Simple Steps to a Healthy Smile
As a health writer, I know exactly what it takes to stay in tip-top shape. The problem is, like most women, my busy schedule often gets in the way of my best intentions.
That's why I've pared my oral health routine down to only the easiest and most effective moves.
These four simple steps are guaranteed to get you smiling for life -- without taking extra time out of your schedule.
1. Pick the right brush
Although a standard toothbrush gets the job done, a power version can make your life a whole lot easier. According to research done by the Cochrane Collaboration, oscillating brushes -- those that move in one direction, and then the other -- remove 11 percent more plaque than the plain kind. Versions with built-in timers also help remind you to scrub up for the entire recommended two minutes. Pair it with a toothpaste flavor you love, or one with whitening ingredients for a brighter smile.
2. Make friends with floss.
Only 10 percent of Americans floss regularly, paving the way for gum disease, according to the American Dental Association. Confession: I used to be one of them, until I made a habit of cleaning between my teeth while watching the local weather report. Try incorporating flossing into your morning routine and choose a variety -- whether it's mint-flavored or a pick style -- that you're more likely to use.
3. Chew after meals
Can't get to a sink after a meal? Pop in a stick of sugarless gum. It won't just freshen your breath; research also shows that chewing for 20 minutes after a meal can fend off tooth decay and cavities. That's because the extra saliva neutralizes the acid that can linger on -- and damage -- your teeth after eating. If you don't have gum, rinse out your mouth with water.
4. Don't shirk the dentist
It's tempting to pass on those annual checkups and twice-a-year cleanings, but seeing your dentist regularly can help you catch minor problems in their earliest -- and most treatable -- stages. Going in for that visit now may prevent you from having to get a root canal next year.
Sharon Liao is an award-winning health editor and writer who has been on staff at Prevention, Fitness, and Reader's Digest magazines. She has contributed to Seventeen and Weight Watchers Magazine, as well as The Intellectual Devotional: Health.
More on healthy teeth from our sponsor
Available at Amazon.com:
- Harping on Healthy Eating Seldom Gets the Message Across
- Can Worrying Be Good for You?
- Aspirin Therapy: Safe for Sensitive Stomachs?
- Keeping Up With Vaccinations: New Guidelines Include Several Changes
- The Health Benefits of Smiling
- 4 Simple Steps to a Healthy Smile
- Do Home Tooth Remedies Really Work?
- How to Avoid Allergies This Season
- The Surprising Health Benefits of Sex
- Nutrition Is 'In the Pink' with Rhubarb
- Four Sob Stories: The Effect of Tears and Three Other Tales of Woe
- If You Choose to Take Vitamins As Supplements Stick to the RDA
- Spring-clean Your Life Guide: Detox Your Home
- The Truth About Booze: Distinguishing Fact From Fiction
- Use Bold and Beautiful Spices for Health
- Much (Well Deserved) Ado About Mangoes
- Could Fluoride Rinses Help Prevent Cavities
- Can Clutter Make You Sick?
- Medical Schools Embrace Alternative Medicine
- Pre-Existing Conditions? Health Insurance Options Improving
- Washington D.C. Tops On Well-Being Index
- Spring-clean Your Life Guide: Clean up Your Diet
- Why Eating While Distracted Can Make You Fat
- Lose Fat With Your Dentist's Help
- Heart-Healthy Foods and Supplements Show Promise To Keep Cholesterol In Check
- Urban Legends on Wine Headaches and Sensitivities Abound
- Is Coffee Bad For You? Check the Evidence Before You Decide
- Organ Donation Demystified
- Is It Alzheimer's?
- Spring-clean Your Teeth
- Can That Dental Procedure Wait?
- Yes, Doc: I Have a Dirty Mouth!
- The Only 10 iPhone Health Apps You Need
- Drinking Water Before Meals to Lose Weight
- Sleep Is Not Enough: Getting the Rest You Need
- The Great Fat Debate Continues
- Refined Carbohydrates May Be Even Worse For You Than Saturated Fat
- Guess What You Just Ate: Watch Labels For Food Additives
- How to Talk to Your Doctor
- Spring-clean to Stay Healthy
- Mindful Eating: Savoring Your Food Has Physical and Psychological Benefits
- Cholesterol That's Good for Your Brain
- Tips For Natural Allergy Relief
- Insulin Toppled As Ruler of Diabetes
- Sneaky Diet-spoilers
- Foods That Help Men Stay Healthy
- Broccoli Rabe: Broccoli's Bolder Cousin
- Aromatherapy: Simple Tips for a Healthier You
- Is Chewing Gum Good or Bad for My Teeth?
- 5 Habits to Help You Get Enough Sleep
- Understanding Headache Pain: Causes and Treatments Vary Widely
- Take the 'Small Steps' Challenge to Discover a Healthier You
- Hand-washing 101: Kill Germs, Don't Spread Them
- Pilot Safety Secrets for Dentists
- Healthy Diet Can Help Ward Off Type 2 Diabetes
- Overcoming Insomnia: Lifestyle Changes, Medication, Psychotherapy Can Help
- Everybody Say Om: The Real Powers of Meditation
- Green Veggies and Fruit Pack a Big Nutritional Punch
- Many Mouthwash Claims Don't Hold Up
- Know Your Vitamins: Vitamin K
- Health Benefits of Tea
- Spring-cleaning Checklist for Your Health
- Fasting Can Have Many Benefits for the Body
- The Glycemic Index Explained
- Letting Go of Grudges Helps Your Health
- Health and Wellness With Doctor Oz
- Foods to Boost Your Moods
- How Terrible is it to Skip Meals?
- Is Your Lunch Safe to Eat?
- Create a Healthy Diet
- 8 Foods for a Beautiful Smile
- Image Makeover Turning Coffee Into a Health Food
- Pick Blueberries for Brain Defense
- Tips to Manage Blood Sugar
- 5 Fats You Should Eat Every Day
- Does Money Buy Happiness?
- Vitamin Sources From A to K
- The Important Vitamin You May Be Forgetting
- Fill 'Er Up! Protein At Breakfast Impacts Satiety
- Preexisting Conditions Common in United States
- Talking to Teens About Marijuana: 9 Do's and Don'ts
- Break Habits That Harm the Heart
- The Pros of Probiotics: What's Good for the Belly Benefits the Brain
- Get Relief For Everyday Aches and Pains
- Seek Immediate Treatment at First Signs of Stroke
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices the Best Way to Minimize Cancer Risk
- Are Drugstore Blood-Pressure Machines Accurate?
- Get Over Your Childhood Eating Habits
- 5 Tricks That Make Your Dentist Happy
- Could You Have Bad Breath Today?
- Eat Less, Live Longer? Calorie Restriction May Boost Longevity
- How Much Protein Should I Eat?
- Are Eggs Good or Bad for You?
- Good Nutrition Vital to Maintain Healthy Immune System
- Guide to Weight Loss Success
- Eating-right Resolutions for Busy People
- Dieting Do's and Don'ts
- Secrets From the World's Healthiest Countries
- Your Cold-fighting Grocery List
- Why Stress Can Be Good for You
- Living-Donor Transplants Are Becoming More Common
- 7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues Today
- The Dangers of Type D Personality
- Become an Imperfectionist
- 5 Daily Habits for a Healthier You
- Are Germ-killing Products Harming Your Health?
- Get a Step Ahead of Flu Season
- Healthy Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Right Now
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.