10 ways to improve your smile

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Good oral health is the most important! 

1. Visit your dentist twice a year to have your teeth cleaned and polished. This helps to promote good oral health as well as a beautiful smile.

2. Treating tooth decay early means that smaller and less invasive dental restorations will be required. This helps maintain the structure and stability of the remaining tooth, not to mention keeps treatment costs lower. If left untreated, decay can spread to other teeth.

3. Good quality electric toothbrushes are clinically shown to remove more plaque and achieve healthier gums than standard manual toothbrushes. Many now feature modes for whitening and sensitive teeth. The toothbrush bodies are made to last for years, while the heads can be changed routinely.

4. Drink more water. It is the healthiest drink for your smile and your body. It helps flush teeth clean and discourages tooth decay. Water contains fluoride and a healthy level of fluoride promotes tooth health and discourages decay.

5. Limit your drinks like tea, coffee and red wine. They are known to stain your teeth. Similar to smoking, the stain from these drinks can build up a superficial stain that your dentist can polish off but it can also cause internal staining of the tooth enamel as well. When you are drinking fizzy drinks try use a straw as this will help reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Products and Procedures: 

6. There are a variety of whitening products available: rinses, toothpastes, strips, over the counter trays, custom trays or laser whitening. Whitening toothpastes and rinses can be good to use as preventative whitening for coffee and tea drinkers. Custom trays and laser whitening will provide professional strength whitening and offer the most dramatic results.

7. If you have missing or broken teeth, this can make you feel too shy to smile. Check what your medical aid offers in terms of ‘specialised dentistry’. You might just qualify to have crowns and bridges fitted. If you are not on a medical aid, it’s best to visit your dentist to find out what it will cost to have a crown or permanent bridge fitted. I had two teeth crowned last year and it cost R8 500 – thankfully my medical aid covered it.

8. You can also look at getting dental implants but this procedure is extremely expensive. Dental implants are a method of implanting a tooth root within the bone of the jaw. The implant is made of titanium so they are extremely strong and durable. Dental implants look very real unlike dentures and bridges as they are placed directly into the root of the missing tooth

9. Veneers – dental veneers are also known as porcelain veneers. They are designed as a permanent way to change or enhance the look of stained, chipped, broken, or undesired teeth.

10. Crooked teeth? You are never too old for braces. In fact many celebrities like Tom Cruise, Faith Hill and Faye Dunaway have gone this route.

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