Maybe you’ve recently scrolled through your camera roll and noticed you rarely smiled in photos last year. Everyone should have the confidence to show off their best friendly asset, though.

Perhaps this year is when you’ve decided it’s time to improve your pearly whites. Here are six tips for a sparkling smile.

6 Tips to Improve Your Smile - smile, Lifestyle, dentist

1.  Brush and Floss Your Teeth Daily

The most important step for a healthier smile is maintaining good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing. A consistent regimen will help you remove plaque, surface stains and bad breath.

The American Dental Association recommends that adults brush their teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may also want to use mouthwash to rinse away any additional food residue.

Some toothpaste and mouthwashes contain teeth whitening ingredients to help make your smile brighter, as well.

2.  Quit Smoking

Most people are aware that smoking harms their health. However, it can cause several oral conditions, as well, such as:

  • Gum disease
  • Stains and discoloration
  • Loss of taste
  • Tooth decay
  • Oral lesions
  • Mouth cancer

About 40% of American smokers ages 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay, while 43% of smokers over 65 have lost all their teeth.

Whether you smoke every day or only on occasion, quitting smoking is essential for decreasing your risk of severe disease, allowing your gums to heal and enhancing your smile.

3.  Visit Your Dentist

The Cleveland Clinic recommends two visits to your dentist per year for proper cleaning. However, you should make appointments with your dentist based on your unique needs.

While you get your teeth cleaned, talk to your dentist about your current oral regimen and their suggestions for improvement.

You might also want to ask them about cosmetic dental procedures for better smiles, such as teeth whitening, Invisalign teeth straightening, crowns for tooth gaps and 3D dentistry.

4.  Limit Beverages That Stain Your Teeth

According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), 62% of Americans drank coffee every day in 2020. While many of us need that hot cup of fresh brew to get our mornings started, coffee and other beverages can stain our teeth.

You may want to steer clear of coffee, tea and wine since they tend to build up surface stains that are difficult to remove. They may also stain the inside of your tooth enamel.

When drinking these types of beverages, you may want to drink through a straw or get into the habit of rinsing your mouth frequently with water or mouthwash before the stains settle.

5.  Eat Healthier

There is a reason why dentists warn against consuming too many sugary drinks and foods. Sugar mixes with bacteria in the mouth to create an acid. The acid can eventually cause tooth decay and erode the enamel to form cavities or dental caries.

That is why you should eat a balanced diet to maintain good oral health. Many dentists recommend the following foods for your teeth:

  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables — like apples, celery and carrots — have anti-inflammatory properties, produce saliva and keep your gums clean.
  • Foods high in calcium — cheese, yogurt and milk — build enamel and repair tooth damage, neutralize acid and promote stronger bone health.
  • Leafy greens that contain folic acid, calcium, and other essential nutrients and minerals aid gums and teeth.
  • Nuts, such as Brazil nuts and cashews, stimulate saliva and fight oral bacteria.
  • Fatty fish like salmon contain phosphorus and other minerals for protecting tooth enamel.

6.  Drink More Water

Water is the healthiest beverage you can nourish your body and teeth with for oral health and a better smile. Fluoridated water from safe tap sources is the best option, as bottled water may lack fluoride altogether. You can reduce your risk of cavities and tooth decay by 25% when you drink fluoridated water.

Drinking water throughout the day also helps create saliva and wash away food debris after meals and snacks.

Create Positive Habits for a Better Smile

Changing your habits takes time, but you will see improvements in your smile by trying these six tips. Even if you don’t notice a difference right away, a healthier lifestyle and regular oral hygiene practice will significantly enhance your overall well-being.