10 steps to a perfect smile

Have you ever noticed how some peoples beautiful smiles make you smile!

A beautiful smile is very contagious, and can be the envy of the entire room!

Dr Jonathon Levine has some simple and practical tips to ensure your confident smile is seen!

Step 1: Eat Smile Friendly Foods

There are foods that stick to your thighs - and then there are foods that stick to your teeth and cause discolouration and bad breath.
Oral hygiene is all about balance - certain foods are alkalizing and others are acidic. If you each too much of the acidic ones, it messes up your mouth's natural pH.

Alkalizing foods that require tons of chewing like apples, carrots and celery act as exfoliators and naturally slough off stains. Also, green veggies like spinach, lettuce and broccoli prevent staining because they create a protective film over teeth that act as a barrier.

So order a plate of spinach before downing a glass of pinot noir.

Step 2: Floss

If you smile and your gums are red and puffy, that's not very pretty. And, your hygiene is off too. Flossing is critical for overall gum health. And, if beauty is health and your gums are inflamed, that's neither pretty nor healthy.

Step 3: Brush

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes at a time. There's a proper technique - you want to get the bristles of the brush under the gum, without hurting it. Angle the brush at 45 degrees to the gum and go up and down. This will remove the plaque under and on the surface.

Step 4: Whiten

Even the right amount of brushing and flossing won't get your pearly whites shining their brightest.  But beware - there is such a thing as too white. And, you should never bleach more than two or three times a year.

Over-whitening is like over- tanning. If you over-whiten, the hydrogen peroxide will break down the enamel and the sub- structure of your teeth. The damage is irreversible, and the ends of your teeth get to be this translucent blue because the enamel has been vaporized - you'll need veneers to fix this.

Step 5: Avoid smile-challenging foods

Beef, turkey, fish, soda and all dairy foods are acidic choices. They break down a tooth's enamel and cause bad bacteria to fester in your mouth, which can ultimately lead to bad breath and gum disease.

Aim for a diet that is 75 percent alkalizing and 25 percent acidifying.

Step 6: Smell your breath

Bad breath is caused by bacteria that live on your tongue or between your teeth. The secret to great breath is simple - brush, floss and watch what you eat. Self-awareness tests do work..... If you smell something, you've got work to do.

Step 7: Go Electric

With electric toothbrushes, they do a lot of the work for you. The bristles move at a high-speed vibration and there's a mechanical removal of plaque. Also, the quick pulse of energy on the surface of the tooth helps to remove new stains.

Step 8: Have fun, but not too much

It's no surprise that smoking and drinking aren't good for you. And, they're bad for your teeth too. The tannins in wine and the nicotine in cigarettes are notorious tooth-stainers because they cling to the natural film we have protecting our teeth.  Plus, alcohol dries your mouth and lowers the natural pH level, which can cause bad breath, too.

Step 9: Visit the experts

You should see your dentist and oral hygienist between 2-3 times a year.

The hygienist is the most important person to visit at the office. Things like gum inflammation are painless, so if you don't get it taken care of, then you get gum disease. The hygienist gathers information from soft tissue exams to spot decay and even cancer.

Step 10: Smile!

It takes almost three times as many muscles to frown as it does to smile - frowning takes 43, and smiling only takes 17.

According to Levine, babies smile an average of 200 times a day, women 62, and men only eight times.  Know that you can change the way you smile. You can always make it better and more beautiful.

Dr Jonathon Levine, DMD, Founder of Go-Smile, the smile-beauty company is a man with a mission: To give the world a reason to smile.

A "smile beauty" practitioner for more than two decades, Dr. Levine is an accomplished aesthetic dentist, professor, product innovator, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. www.gosmilebeauty.com.au