How to take care of your family’s smiles

The ability to smile is a natural human instinct – which means it should be something we often do, right? Unfortunately, studies suggest the older we get, the less we smile. For example, studies suggest that children smile an average of 400 times per day, compared to the typical adult who smiles only 20 times per day

There are various reasons for this. Children are inquisitive and joyful and spend most of their time playing (or napping). As adults (and teens), we have different forms of expression and have a lot more to deal with – from exam stress or workplace conflict.

However, this does not mean that smiling is not important – in fact, it comes with a tonne of health benefits. For example, smiling more often is linked with good mental health as it increases your natural production of serotonin. This is the hormone that helps you feel happy and can be a great way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Despite its importance, one of the key reasons people try to smile less (or hide their teeth when smiling) is a lack of confidence within their actual smile. For example, they have been told as children their teeth were wonky or realise that their teeth aren’t quite as white as they once were. Thankfully, there are various ways to combat this. 

With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to take care of your family’s smiles!

  • Teach your children to be responsible for their oral hygiene. When your children were younger, you likely had to remind them each night and morning to brush their teeth. However, it’s essential that you teach them responsibility and encourage them to put together their own healthy habits so that they can take better care of their teeth, especially as they get older. 
  • Look into all of your treatment options. Some complications with our teeth require expert support or care in order to remedy. For example, crooked or misaligned teeth can sometimes be more than a cosmetic concern, as they make your teeth harder to brush, resulting in decay and gum disease. As a result, you must consider all of your treatment options carefully. For example, teenagers and adults with misaligned teeth may benefit from using Invisalign products, which can help straighten out teeth and give you a smile that you are proud to show off! 
  • Follow a healthy diet. There are many benefits to following a healthy diet – since it helps raise healthy kids. However, the right diet can also be great for your teeth, especially if you avoid foods that can harm them. You should cut down on caffeine and sugar consumption and avoid eating excessive amounts of foods that might stain your teeth. 
  • Lead by example. One of the easiest ways to teach your younger children (and teens, for that matter) a lesson is by leading by example. For example, it’s no good preaching oral hygiene if you don’t make an effort to care for your teeth too. This is particularly important when your children are younger, as they begin to emulate your behaviours from an early age. 
  • Go to the dentist often. Adults and children alike often show a keen disinterest in going to the dentist – even if they only need a checkup and are not experiencing any dental problems. There are various reasons for this – maybe they are embarrassed that their teeth are not perfectly white or are worried that they’ll need a painful procedure. However, going to the dentist more often is the easiest way to remedy these issues, as they’ll be able to help you put plans in place to improve both your smile and oral hygiene. Whatsmore, if you’re worried about the cost of going to the dentist, remember that avoiding treatment will only make issues worsen, making them more difficult (and expensive) to fix in the long run. For children, it’s recommended that they visit the dentist at least once a year, while adults should go every six months (unless dealing with a dental emergency). 
  • Buy electric toothbrushes. Good oral hygiene mostly centres around being able to clean your teeth effectively, stopping decay and the build-up of plaque. While there are various ways to do this, such as through the use of mouthwash, floss, and interdental brushes, your choice of toothbrush is also important. In many cases, electric toothbrushes are best as they allow you to achieve a deeper clean, reaching areas that you might struggle to reach with a manual brush. 
  • Choose your dental products carefully. There are hundreds of different oral hygiene products out there – all of which promise to give you the best possible outcome for your teeth. However, it’s important that you are able to separate good products from products with a good marketing team behind them – as certain products may actually be doing more harm for your teeth than good. For example, certain mouthwashes may be causing staining. The easiest way to make sure you are choosing the right dental products is to ask your hygienist or dentist for recommendations – or to check out reviews online ahead of time. 
  • Compliment their smiles. Smiles come in all shapes and sizes, and,  barring any health-related complications, it’s essential that you teach your children (and yourself) to love the smile they have been given. This way, they will feel less self-conscious and more eager to grin at any given moment. One way in which you can achieve this goal is by simply complimenting them -and telling them you like their smile. You should also talk about how every smile is different, and that is okay. If your teen is using social media, you may notice that their issues with self-confidence and body image intensify – and this is because they are constantly comparing themselves to their social media feed. If this is the case, make it clear that social media is not a reflection of real life, and the photos are often edited (including even the person’s teeth or smile).

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