Teeth are a big damned deal. Your entire future and even success level in life is tied to a mouth that people want to look at, kiss or hear what comes out of it. Case in point: When I was a kid, a boy in my neighborhood was the Alpha of the block, a bit of a feared bully and his repertoire included his ability to pry off bottle tops with his molars and chew ice.
Cut to a few decades later, the guy is in full dentures with a fishwife and a kid in jail. A toothless sad bastard who got what was coming to him.
Your teeth – like any organ or your skeletal system- has a span of endurance. If you are smart and reading this relatively young, I can save you thousands of dollars and a lifetime of regret. When it comes to looking younger than our years, we all tend to focus on our skin and forget that other barometer of age — our smile.
Happily, Dr. Michael Schneider is an expert in all things tooth related, and offered us a wonderful lifehack list so that you may preserve your smile.
There are tooth issues like discoloration, chips, wear, and more can be a lot easier to reverse than age-related damage to the skin. And there are plenty of simple, daily preventive measures that can be taken to keep your teeth looking amazing, well, forever.
1 Of brushes and brushing
There as many brushing techniques as there are toothbrushes on the market, so I always tell my patients to keep things simple. The most important thing is to always use a soft toothbrush (aggression isn’t always a good thing!), floss at least once daily, and remember the “2 and 2 rule,” brush twice a day for a total of two minutes each time – one minute on the uppers and one on the lowers.
2 Eat this, not that
What’s bad for the rest of the body (sugary, starchy foods) is usually equally bad for teeth. Acidic foods and drinks are particularly harmful because they create an environment that is hospitable to bacteria and unfriendly to enamel. It’s okay to drink an occasional soda, but follow it up with some water to neutralize the acid in your mouth.
3 Drifting away.
Maturing teeth can and will naturally “drift” forward toward the lips, creating crowding and a less than attractive look. This is called “mesial drift.” Just like receding hairlines, it is something we can’t really prevent, but it can be controlled by wearing a retainer weekly to keep teeth in position.
4 When to brush?
It’s hard to be consistent when our lives are so busy. Ideally, right after breakfast and after dinner are good times. If breakfast is on the road or on the run, brush upon waking up and then rinse with water after eating.
5 Chew on this
See these jacked up teeth? Chewing tobacco. Don’t chew tobacco! You are welcome. Now that we scared you straight, note that the way we chew our food is genetic, and a habit that is so ingrained we don’t even think about it, let alone try to control it. A good goal, however, is to try to control the pace, and to eat food more slowly and chew more.
The act of chewing starts the digestion process and stimulates the secretion of saliva, which naturally helps control bacteria. Insufficient chewing can affect the oral environment as well as lead to stomach distress. Again, the mouth-body connection is an important one.
6 Are sports guards a good idea for the casual athlete?
Short answer: Yes! Think of them like bike helmets. They may not be widely accepted now, but ask anyone who has hit a bump in the road on their bike or been hit by an errant piece of equipment. They’re the wave of the future, and they should be used in every sport where movement of any kind is involved, except maybe card games! Even if you’re not a Major League Baseball player or an NFL quarterback in danger of getting hit or sacked, we all clench our teeth when concentrating and doing an activity that involves physical exertion. The type of guard needed depends solely on your activity.
7 Age-proofing your smile
Perrmanently stained, discolored, crooked or worn teeth can be very aging, and can even make you look a lot older than you are. One of the proven ways to reverse the aging process is with non- invasive SmileSimplicity porcelain veneers. The color is restored, teeth lengthened and the lips once again have sufficient support so that the top teeth show. (Bonus: since the mouth area becomes a little more filled in, tiny lines and wrinkles are less noticeable.)
You’ve got your youthful smile (or the one you always wished you had) back. There is no drilling down of sensitive tooth structure and therefore no anesthesia required. Some call this the non-invasive dental facelift.
8 Professional cleanings
Never ever forget that regular cleanings are one of the most important preventive measure. Some people genetically build-up plaque much faster than others, so ask your dentist for a recommended schedule. Then stick to it!