The Biting Truth About Teeth
A special by our Content Manager

Unless you happen to be dating a dentist, it's hard to give your teeth the T.L.C. they need. Dental care is the most essential part of a lifelong beauty plan (after washing your makeup off before you go to sleep, which will always be priority No. 1). We are well past the era of compulsory dentures, and since most of us have every intention of keeping our teeth in our mouths, they may as well look nice. 

Having said this, please realize that gleaming white teeth are *not* the goal. Teeth don't come in white, so if somebody has 'em, chances are they're bleached or just plain fake. Unless you can afford to fork over $500 to $1,000 for the bleaching process and thousands more for bonding or capping, you will not be able to dramatically change the color of your teeth. 

Recent surface discolorations from coffee, tea, or nicotine can be removed by brushing with baking soda or rubbing a fresh strawberry or lemon peel over your teeth and rinsing with water. It is now believed that harsh toothpastes (such as those marked 'tartar control') may in fact damage the protective outer enamel, making teeth more prone to staining. 

Everybody knows that candy causes tooth decay, but did you know that citrus fruits and fruit juices can be just as harmful? When they are allowed to linger in the mouth, citrus juices create an acid environment that erodes teeth. You should eat citrus with other foods so this acid will be neutralized. And it's always important to clear the mouth of food debris, which can lead to decay as well as bad breath. 

An apple after a meal removes more food particles than brushing your teeth, while chewing sugar-free gum or ginger root stimulates the salivary glands, the mouth's natural self-cleaner. 

There is no point to having healthy teeth unless your gums are healthy as well, which is why the dreaded flossing is so important. Should your gums become inflamed or infected, this rinse is soothing and healing: warm water, 1/4 tsp. salt and the contents of 1 capsule of goldenseal. Mix and swish. 

If you abide by these simple rules of dental care, you will find that your teeth become brighter and your breath sweeter. Isn't that something to smile about?