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Health Tips

How to Keep Your Smile HealthyEveryone knows the benefits of taking care of your mouth: stronger teeth, healthier gums and a more attractive smile. What you may not know is that oral disease can potentially lead to other health problems.

How to Keep Your Smile Healthy

Limit sugar and starch.

Sugar produces acids that attach to plaque, (the sticky film that forms on your teeth) break down tooth enamel and cause decay. To lessen the harmful effects of these acids, try eating a bit of Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese, which will stimulate saliva production.

Make better snack choices!

If you must snack, eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Avoid hard candy and mints that stay in your mouth for a long time. Be sure to drink plenty of water after treats to dilute the acid attack.

Use fluoride toothpaste.

Brush for three minutes at least twice a day and always at bedtime. During sleep, your mouth produces less saliva to dilute bacterial acid. When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and change it every three to four months - earlier if it is frayed.

Floss your teeth daily.

A toothbrush cannot clean between the teeth, so after that last piece of apple pie, use floss or a dental toothpick.

Visit the dentist regularly.

Twice-a-year visits for professional cleanings will reduce damaging tartar buildup. Identifying small problems early can prevent cavities and gum disease.

Protect your teeth.

Don't chew ice or popcorn kernels. Don't use your teeth as tools. Avoid tobacco - it can cause gum disease.