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Ten Tips for a Perfect Smile

1.) Visit your dentist every six to 12 months to keep your mouth free of plaque build-up. It's also a good idea to tell him/her what medication you're taking, as some can cause bad breath.

2.) Quit smoking. It's not only hazardous to your health and those around you, but to your teeth as well. Smoking turns your teeth yellow by leaving sticky tar deposits which can also cause brown stains.

3.) Drink less coffee, tea and red wine. These drinks only add to the discoloration of your teeth.

4.) Watch how much garlic and spicy food you eat but beware also of less obvious food offenders, like meat, dairy, onion and sugar. Keep a food log to identify what affects your breath.

5.) Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day. The best times to brush are after you've had breakfast in the morning and just before you go to bed.

6.) Floss once a day, preferably in the evenings. Flossing helps to remove plaque build up between the teeth and can also help to prevent under the surface stains. Flossing also helps to prevent decay between the teeth a common place for it to form.

7.) Use a fluoride mouthwash with antiseptic ingredients and a minty flavor to help mask odor problems.

8.) Choose toothpaste that suits your needs. If you're a fan of organic, there are even organic toothpastes on the market.

9.) A white smile does wonders for your complexion and your self-esteem. Ask your dentist about a whitening treatment. While this process is very expensive, the costs may seem minimal when your smile is putting a hamper on your quality of life. The professional system takes about one hour and is generally done at your dentist's office. Alternatively, try an at-home kit, available from healthcare stores.

10.) Banish bad breath by drinking a mix of vanilla essence and milk, or eat sugar-free plain yogurt with live active cultures it reduces hydrogen sulphide, the compound that contributes to smelly breath.

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