When you think of perfect teeth, you may think of Tom Cruise’s pearly whites that cost millions of dollars to look exactly how a team of experts thought they should look.
However, perfect teeth should always mean healthy teeth.
Much like social status, the “perfect smile” is a hard-to-reach ideal that is set by Hollywood, magazines, and even oral health product manufacturers.
How much does it cost to have perfect teeth? Every year, Americans spend millions of dollars on unnecessary cosmetic procedures. When you think “perfect teeth”, you should think “dental health”.
Taking care of your natural teeth is easier — and more affordable — than ever.
What are “perfect teeth”, really?
“Perfect teeth” are strong, straight, and free of disease or symptoms of disease — like pain and sensitivity.
Perfect teeth are not necessarily bleached white. There is nothing wrong with having whiter teeth, in theory. But over-whitening your teeth may lead to tooth sensitivity.
While “beautiful” teeth may look great, “perfect” teeth should function properly. Perfect teeth should be able to chew without pain and exhibit no symptoms of oral disease.
What are considered perfect teeth? Many people consider perfect teeth to be white and straight. While it is important to have straight teeth, white teeth are not necessarily indicative of healthy teeth.
How can I get perfect teeth? You can get perfect teeth by ensuring your teeth are straight, healthy, strong, and free of disease.
Step #1: Straighten Your Teeth
First thing’s first. You have to straighten your teeth.
Unsightly metal braces were once the only option to straighten teeth, but orthodontics has come a long way in the last few decades.
Straightening your teeth offers health benefits beyond the mouth.
When you have crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth, you may suffer from:
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Chronic headaches
- Excess wear on teeth and gums
- Poor digestion
- Speech impediment
- Self-esteem issues
Straightening your teeth not only avoids the conditions listed above, it brings you one step closer to that picture-perfect smile.
There are commercial products that offer teeth straightening. For example, Invisalign aligners are removable plastic devices that gradually straighten teeth that are very difficult to see when you smile.
Professional dental services, such as braces or retainers, may be required to help straighten your teeth. You may also want to correct an overbite or underbite with similar dental services.
Once your teeth are correctly aligned, you’re one step closer to a perfect smile.
Step #2: Perfect Your Brushing & Flossing Technique
If your brushing technique is excellent, then you may be able to avoid cavities, gingivitis, stains, and discoloration.
5 tips on the perfect brushing technique:
- Aim the toothbrush head at a 45 degree angle towards your gumline, in front of and behind your teeth.
- Brush in gentle circles.
- Only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. That’s all you need!
- Don’t brush too hard, and use soft bristle toothbrushes. Hard bristles and brushing may cause gum damage.
- When finished brushing, allow your brush to air dry in a “head-up” position.
Fluoride toothpaste (and more recently, hydroxyapatite toothpaste) helps keep your teeth strong and prevents tooth decay (AKA cavities). However, many parents worry about fluoride toxicity and are turning to fluoride-free toothpaste alternatives.
Triple Bristle’s patented three-sided brush technology cleans your teeth in less than half the time. Our three-sided toothbrush is dentist-created and dentist-approved. It has two brush heads cut at the 45-degree angle that means you don’t need special wrist twists!
Don’t forget flossing! Floss before you brush every morning. Unwaxed dental floss should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine just like brushing. Flossing and brushing combine to help bring you that perfect smile.
Step #3: Don’t Skip Teeth Cleanings
Every 6 months, every person should visit their dental office. These general dentist visits contribute to a beautiful smile and prevent poor oral health.
But these twice-yearly check-ups also allow your dentist to spot early signs of cavities, gum disease, or even crooked teeth for children. That way, an orthodontist can fix the problem before it becomes permanent.
Don’t skip teeth cleanings. They are the number one method of preventing poor dental health, which can mess with your perfect smile.
If someone in your family is nervous about visiting a dental practice, try the Brush and Bite Starter Kit. It was designed by a dentist to help special needs individuals who struggle with anxiety about visiting their local dentist.
Step #4: Protect Your Oral Microbiome
The oral microbiome is the balance of beneficial bacteria to harmful bacteria, living in your oral cavity. Protecting your oral microbiome is essential to your oral health.
Everyone’s oral microbiome is also composed of fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
An imbalanced oral microbiome may lead to:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease (also called “periodontitis”)
- Recurrent aphthous ulceration
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Nervous system disease
To maintain a healthy, balanced oral microbiome, you need to keep to your daily routine of brushing and flossing. You may even use oral probiotics to boost your oral microbiome health.
But there are a few things you can avoid, which would otherwise threaten your oral microbiome.
What can destroy your oral microbiome, leading to poor oral health?
- Antibacterial mouthwash
- Antibacterial toothpaste
- Poor diet (high in sugars, starches)
- Poor oral hygiene
Step #5: Whiten Your Teeth
When people think of “perfect teeth”, the visual aspect is often the number one aspect they think of. There’s no shame in it — whiten your teeth if it gives you confidence!
Teeth whitening is unnecessary and is not an end goal for perfect teeth. But whitening your teeth can be one part of your perfect smile.
Avoid these 12 foods that may stain your teeth:
- Red wine
- Fruit juice
- Soy sauce
- Tomato-based sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
Over-whitening your teeth may damage your tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity. It might seem harmless, but these bleaching agents can negatively impact your oral health.
Possible side effects of teeth whitening products include:
- Weakened tooth structure
- Degraded tooth enamel and dentin
- Sensitive dental pulp
- Imbalanced oral bacteria
- Compromised gut bacteria, if swallowed
- Cervical resorption
- Mercury exposure, if you have a dental amalgam filling
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Whitening
- Extrinsic whitening is cleaning stains and discoloration off the surface of the tooth. Extrinsic stains are only on the surface, and less permanent than intrinsic stains. Whitening toothpastes are a form of extrinsic whitening.
- Intrinsic whitening is getting rid of stains and discoloration inside the tooth, usually in the dentin layer under the tooth enamel surface. Whitestrips, whitening trays, and professional whitening treatments all use carbamide or hydrogen peroxide to intrinsically whiten teeth.
Step #6: Consider Cosmetic Dentistry
If you are not happy with the appearance of your teeth, you may want to talk to your dentist about cosmetic dental services, such as:
- Dental implants
- Professional teeth whitening
Costs vary, but most dental insurance plans often cover half of the cost of medically-necessary orthodontic treatments, like crowns, bonding, and dentures.
But most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic crowns, dental implants, veneers, or cosmetic bonding.
Consider cosmetic dentistry as a last resort when healthy diet, proper oral hygiene, and balanced oral microbiome aren’t quite enough to get you the perfect smile you’re looking for.
Perfect Teeth Are Healthy Teeth
When you are trying to get a beautiful smile, people usually think of white teeth. However, we should instead think of straight, strong, clean teeth that are free of any symptoms of cavities or gingivitis.
Perfect teeth = healthy teeth. When you visit your dentist every six months and maintain an excellent at-home oral hygiene routine, you don’t need a smile makeover.
If you practice consistent dental care, perfect teeth should naturally follow.
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