Dental Tips for Looking Younger
Tried-and-true brushing and flossing can help you hold on to your good looks longer.
By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
WebMD Feature Archive
Your mouth is more than just a pretty smile. It’s also a gateway to your overall health. Keeping that gateway clean may keep you healthier longer — and looking younger.
?Just as white, straight teeth convey youth, a smile with crooked, discolored, worn, or missing teeth is associated with an aged look,? says Edmond Hewlett, DDS, professor of restorative dentistry at UCLA’s School of Dentistry. ?The adage ?long in the tooth,? used to describe older persons, reflects the fact that gum disease causes gums to recede and teeth to appear longer as a result.”
Keeping a youthful mouth comes down to two simple, proven, and practical steps:
Brush and floss daily
See your dentist every six months
?Taking the time to brush and floss is what?s needed,” says Anthony M. Iacopino, DMD, PhD, dean of the dentistry faculty at Canada’s University of Manitoba, professor of restorative dentistry, and an American Dental Association spokesman. “Brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist is so easy to do, it?s not expensive, and everyone should be doing it.?
What’s Stopping You?
?Folks don?t take [oral health] seriously,? says Samuel Low, DDS, MS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology and professor emeritus of periodontology at the University of Florida.
?They take their looks seriously and the smile is a priority, but people don?t think about their gums. Brushing takes time, and flossing is one of the most difficult habits. Only 25% of people floss and I don?t think people see the benefits,” says Low, who estimates that it takes two to three minutes per day to floss properly, but “these days, people are crunched for time.? Low is a stockholder in Florida Probe Corporation, a dental technology company.
Looks aside, there’s another reason to make time for dental care. If you don’t, it could affect your health.
Inflammation, Periodontal Disease
Inflammation can happen when bacteria and debris, such as bits of food, enter the blood vessels around the teeth. Inflammation is your body’s response to such invaders. And if it happens over and over again, you could wind up with long-term (chronic) inflammation.