I'm pleased to introduce Dr. Irina Starik, a fabulous dentist on the Upper East Side whom I have trusted with my own teeth. Read her article on what you can do to maintain and achieve a beautiful smile and great teeth, below.
How to Get a Gorgeous Smile by Irina Starik, DMD
Guest Blog Post for Lara Devgan, MD, MPH
"The world is like a mirror, if you smile it smiles back, and vice-versa."
- Ras Obenn
A recent study conducted by the Max Planck Institute in Germany concluded that smiling can make you appear younger. The question then becomes, how do we keep this healthy smile throughout our life?
As we age so do our teeth and gums. Enamel (the outside layer of teeth) changes color, wear over the years shortens the length of the actual tooth, the gum line begins to recede and our teeth move and become misaligned.
The first line of defense is oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth every day as well as regular checkups by your dentist semi-annually. The best time to brush your teeth is after breakfast and after you have had your last meal at night. Flossing should be done every night prior to brushing and incorporating mouthwash helps reduce the bacteria count in your mouth. Seeing your dentist regularly will ensure that any problems that develop are treated right away and that your daily oral hygiene technique gets the professional stamp of approval!
Whitening Your Teeth
However with time and aging other factors start to affect your smile. As you age, it becomes vital to understand how food and drinks affect your teeth. Coffee and wine stains the teeth and other foods such as sugars and citrus fruit even break down your enamel. Whitening your teeth professionally is the best way to restore what time has diminished and monitoring your diet will help slow the wear of your teeth.
One of the biggest obstacle to a healthy smile early on is smoking and teeth grinding. Symptoms of grinding include excessive wear of the teeth, increased sensitivity, and jaw pain. The best way to treat this is to have a night guard made by your dentist. Recently there have been new treatments developed, including Botox therapy of the specific muscles (masseter and temporalis) that control closing and clenching of the jaw.
With age, teeth also begin to shift and change position, even if you have had orthodontics (braces) in the past. The best and least invasive way to realign your teeth is through Invisalign treatment. This is a modern approach to braces that uses virtually invisible retainers that gently re-position your teeth.
Facial aesthetics also have a direct affect on the beauty of your smile. Enhancements such as lip fillers will help hide receding gums. Other ways to improve your smile is to use these fillers in your gums to help plump and lower them.
There are many ways to help you maintain your youthful smile, ask your dentist about other specific options that you may have!