A healthy smile is an attractive feature, but you have more than your good looks to worry about when it comes to your teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease can contribute to more serious diseases, like blood poisoning and even heart attack. Here are 7 tips to keep your smile radiant:

  1. Brush Twice a Day

Brush when you first get up in the morning and before you go to bed. Beyond these two crucial times for brushing, you can also brush one more time. It’s not usually recommended more than three times a day.

  1. Don’t Skip the Floss

Flossing isn’t particularly fun, but it is an important part of your oral health. If you’re one of the many, many people who struggles with flossing, there are a few simple solutions. First, know that your gums won’t bleed forever. Brushing your gums along with your teeth will help prevent bleeding. Second, try individual flossing sticks — they’re much easier to work with than a single long string. Last, practice flossing with your eyes closed. Once you’re good at it, you can floss anywhere!

  1. Consider Seals for Kids

Kids don’t always do well with oral hygiene. They skip brushing, don’t want to floss, and eat sugar like no body’s business. You can give them a good head start by getting their back molars sealed. The adult molars usually come in around 6 years of age, so talk to your kid’s dentist about having them filled. It’s a slightly longer procedure, but the seals are considered one of the most underused preventative procedures, last for about 10 years and help to prevent tooth decay later in life.

  1. Don’t Go Overboard on Fluoride

Fluoride delivers the vital mineral directly onto your teeth, helping to re-mineralize areas of decay. This stops them from becoming full-blown cavities, and can reverse mild decay. It can’t heal a cavity that’s already formed, but it can stop it from getting worse. On the other hand, too much fluoride can cause white spots on your teeth. It’s not dangerous, but it’s not attractive either. Swallowing too much toothpaste can lead to intestinal trouble, so keep an extra close eye on the kids!

  1. Avoid Whitening Toothpaste

This is a pretty common mistake. People assume that tooth whitening toothpaste is good for your teeth, especially if you’re willing to try anything for whiter teeth. However, white does not mean healthy when it comes to your mouth. Whitening toothpaste uses mild abrasives to scrape extra material off of your teeth, and it can be very damaging when used long-term. Instead, buy regular toothpaste, practice good oral hygiene, and get your teeth cleaned regularly.

  1. Don’t Skimp on Your Greens

Just like the wrong foods can hurt your teeth, the right ones can help. Calcium isn’t only in milk. You can also get plenty of calcium in foods like leafy greens, soybeans and sardines. Other foods can actually help clean your teeth. Apples have the right texture to rub your teeth clean, which makes them an excellent dessert for lunch.

  1. Change Your Toothbrush

It’s a good idea to change your toothbrush at least every 2-3 months. Most of them come with a handy color indicator, but you’re not supposed to wait until all of the color has rubbed off. Instead, it’s better change it once the color has come about halfway off. If you can, buy toothbrushes in packs of two. That way, you never have to worry about running out of them.

Keeping your mouth in good shape helps your whole health, so start early and be vigilant!