Looking after your teeth and gums isn't just good for your dental health. If you want to get ahead in life, a healthy smile could be your biggest asset and the finishing style touch.
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Is a healthy smile really the key to your happiness? It may sound a bit far-fetched, but there's something in it. In addition to good oral health being linked to a lower risk of illnesses such as heart disease, now it seems it can also affect your mood, career and relationships.
It's a proven fact that the movement of the facial muscles when you produce a big grin sends a surge of the reward chemical dopamine to your brain - making you happier. And when you smile properly, you activate muscles in your face, around your eyes and in your forehead, and that conveys large amounts of information to those around you. Did you know that women who smile in dating profiles get more replies than those who don't? And if that's not incentive enough, smiling makes you look younger - three years younger according to researchers in Germany.
But what if your oral health is letting you down and you just don't feel like smiling? We can all relate to the worries of bad breath and discoloured or even sensitive teeth. 'A lack of confidence in your oral health can impact on your willingness to smile fully. If that happens you won't activate all the muscles in your face naturally and your smile can look forced,' says Dr Anousheh Alavi, scientific affairs manager for Colgate. This is not a particularly good look for job interviews - or first dates.
The good news is, most of the issues that can inhibit your smile can be easily remedied. One of the most common causes of bad breath is a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. 'Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day helps reduce bacteria levels,' says Dr Alavi. 'And also clean your tongue. Many modern toothbrushes contain a specific surface that helps you do this.' If you're worried about flashing grey or yellow teeth when you smile, swap your normal paste for a whitening one to remove stains on the surface. Regular brushing with a whitening toothpaste can remove darkening caused by food and drink with a strong colour like tea and coffee.
If you're still worried about your teeth, see your dentist, who can advise you. Once you're grinning with confidence you'll unleash a heap of benefits.
Did you know? People who smile have a 70 per cent chance of living to 80, while non-smilers have only 50 per cent of doing the same says recent research from the US. And researchers at the University of Kansas found that if you smile when you're under pressure, your heart rate and blood pressure remain lower than if you're frowning.
Beautiful teeth facts While any smile is attractive, we all have ideas about what a healthy one should look like. Are they true? Colgate's Dr Alavi tackles some myths.
FACT OR FIB? Healthy teeth must be bright white. FIB Actually, dentists have a chart for teeth, which shows a range of shades that healthy teeth can come in - from cream to bright white. 'Your exact shade is determined by the colour of the dentine under the enamel - and that's mostly determined by genetics.'
FACT OR FIB? You have to bleach teeth to brighten them. FIB Sometimes removing specific staining can make a noticeable difference. 'In some people that can be done by removing any external staining that's built up on the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist can remove any stains and advise you on the best daily toothpaste to use.'
FACT OR FIB? Flossing whitens teeth. FACT Those dark lines that build up between the teeth are caused when the plaque hardens into tartar. ‘Tartar absorbs stains,' says Dr Alavi. Flossing removes plaque and stops tartar forming. Your hygienist can also remove tartar for you.
Why use Colgate? Colgate Total Advanced offers complete protection for a healthy mouth and guards against the main oral care problems. Clinically proven to provide non-stop 12-hour protection against bacteria, it’s the number one toothpaste brand used by dentists*.
Focus on your health and win a spa break at heart.co.uk.
*COLGATE PROFESSIONAL SURVEY, 300 DENTISTS, 2014
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