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27 March 2017Last updated
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How to have a healthy, confident smile

To keep smiling well, here are 10 dos and don’ts

Dr Joy Antony
10 Jan 2017 | 06:15 am
  • Source:iStock

Everyone desires a beautiful smile. It is your best fashion accessory. It is proven that both men and women are more attracted to people who smile often. To keep smiling well, here are 10 dos and don’ts:

The Dos

1 Proper brushing techniques

Brushing is the most important and easiest way to help keep your teeth healthy. Spend at least two minutes brushing twice daily. Use a soft or medium brush. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and use short back and forth strokes (tooth-wide). Brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth. To clean inside surfaces of front teeth, place the brush vertically and use up and down strokes.

2 Clean your tongue

This should be done daily using a tongue cleaner. It helps maintain fresh breath and reduces bacteria that can negatively affect your health.

3 Flossing

Floss daily at least once to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach or mouthwash cannot wash away.

4 Use dental sealants for children’s teeth

The permanent molars come in at around age six. The pits and fissures on these teeth make them prone to dental decay. 
Your dentist can apply a thin protective resin coating on these teeth to prevent dental caries.

5 Use sufficient fluoride

Fluoridated water strengthens the enamel, making it less prone to decay. Some varieties of bottled water in the UAE contain fluoride. Or discuss with your dentist about fluoride application. For children, fluoride toothpaste should be used sparingly. Too much fluoride can cause white spots on the teeth.

6 Use a mouthwash or chew gum after meals

Antibacterial mouthwash can help prevent decay and gum disease. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal also helps protect your teeth as it increases the saliva flow, which helps in washing away leftover food and neutralising the acid.

7 Protect your teeth from blows

Mouthguards have become mandatory for many contact sports. However, regular recreational activities such as skateboarding and rollerblading can also result in injuries to your teeth. You can buy mouthguards from sports stores and adapt them to fit your teeth.

8 Healthy diet

A nutritious diet is essential for healthy teeth and gums. Omega-3 fats may also help reduce risk of gum disease. Vitamin D, calcium and vitamin B complex are also essential.

9 Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables

This helps keep your teeth clean. If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, end your meal with an apple or celery.

10 Get a regular dental check-up

Visit your dentist at least every six months. The dentist can detect dental caries and early signs of gum disease or oral cancer and signs of wear-and-tear from grinding.

The Don’ts

1 Don’t smoke/use tobacco

Tobacco stains your teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.

2 Stop the thumb sucking habit in children

This can cause misalignment of front teeth. If the habit continues beyond four years, it can deform the upper jaw by making it narrow and protruded. If it cannot be controlled, visit a paediatric dentist, who will place an appliance to break the habit.

3 Don’t brush too hard

Aggressive brushing can cause recession of the gums and erode the tooth enamel.

4 Avoid sweet carbonated drinks

Sipping on sugary carbonated colas regularly exposes teeth to destructive sugars. Bacteria breaks down sugar to produce acid that attacks your enamel.

5 Avoid sticky foods

Not just candies, but also dried fruits can be detrimental to your teeth if they stick to them.

6 Don’t use your teeth as tools

Your teeth were designed for eating and not to substitute as a pair of scissors or bottle opener – this can lead to an emergency.

7 Be careful of citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are acidic and can erode the enamel of your teeth.

8 Constant snacking

Snacking frequently, especially on sugary foods and drinks, makes you more prone to cavities. Eat foods low in fat and sugar. Then have a glass of water to wash away any leftover food.

9 Chew only


What you can avoid biting on hard foods such as bones or ice. This can cause chipping or cracking of teeth.

10 Stop clenching and grinding teeth

This habit can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth and also, lead to muscle tenderness and joint pain. If you grind your teeth while sleeping, a night-time mouthguard may help.

Dr Joy Antony

Dr Joy Antony

is CEO of Dr Joy Dental Clinic, which has branches in Jumeirah 04-3285332, Mirdif 04-2845722, BurJuman 04-3555357 and Karama 04-3979522. Website: www.drjoydentalclinic.com