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Ever wonder why some people possess beautiful smiles while others try but never achieve the same result?  Believe it or not, the secrets to a great smile are simple steps that each and everyone of us can take. 

Below are five steps that will lead you to a brighter and more beautiful smile.


1. Take a little extra time to give your teeth the care they deserve.

Did you know that it takes two to three minutes to adequately brush your teeth but that most people spend less than 30 seconds brushing?  Why is brushing this long so important?

It all has to do with bacteria.  Millions of bacteria live, work, and play in our mouths.  They feed on food left on our teeth after we eat.  Acid is a by-product of this bacterial feasting.  It is this acid which destroys enamel creating cavities. 

2. Do a little flossing.  It just might save your teeth.

OK, so you've heard that you need to floss at least once a day.  But has anyone ever told you why? 

It all has to do with bacteria again.  These crafty critters like to hide between your teeth to escape the wrath of the toothbrush.  Here they continue to feed on food, spewing out cavity-causing acid.  Worst yet, if allowed to remain undisturbed for a long time, these bacteria invade and destroy gum tissue as well as the bones and ligaments which support teeth. This is what causes gum disease.  Flossing removes these bacteria from between teeth so they can no longer cause problems.

3. It is not just the candy that is dangerous to your smile.

Did you know that many foods other than candy promote tooth decay?

Bacteria feed on the sugar of candy creating cavity-causing acid.  Bacteria, however, not only use candy to create acid but can also use any food which contains sugars and other carbohydrates.  This includes such foods as fruits, peanut butter, crackers, potato chips and popcorn, and drinks such as Coke or Gatorade.

Especially harmful are foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to teeth where they provide a constant source of energy for bacteria.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Well, brushing after meals helps by removing both the bacteria and the left over food particles which the bacteria feast on.  If you can not brush, try washing food down with liquids ensuring that less food remains on your teeth.  Chewing sugarless gum also helps because this stimulates saliva flow.  Saliva acts as a natural plaque fighting substance.


4. Stop brushing so hard

Incredibly, nearly two out of three people damage their own teeth by brushing too hard!  It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria, food and plaque.  Unfortunately, most people apply three to four times the necessary brushing pressure causing damage to teeth and gums.  This damage includes: receeding gums, generalized sensitivity, notched teeth, and root cavities.

5. Reduce your dependency on coffee.

Believe it or not, coffee is one of the most dangerous threats to your smile.  Coffee stains teeth destroying your naturally white smile. Worst yet, because most people sip coffee throughout the day, bacteria are provided with a constant source of sugar from which it produces cavity-causing acid. If that wasn't bad enough, coffee can cause small fractures in teeth called crazes.  These occur when the teeth are forced to expand and contract as a result of being exposed to hot foods or liquids.  These hot and cold cycles occur when we drink hot coffee. Over a prolonged period of time, this can create crazes in the teeth.

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