Brighten teeth, flash a pearly smile

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By Andrew Castellano | Staff Writer

Being able to flash a white and healthy smile does not come easy.

Determining what information can be counted as fact and what information should be shrugged off as myth is the difficult part when taking advice to whiten teeth.

Every morning is a struggle for some students. They have to decide whether they want to brush their teeth before or after drinking their morning cup of coffee.

“Your mouth becomes more acidic when you drink coffee,” said Shelly Werhanowicz, registered dental hygienist at Family Dentistry in Temecula. “When you brush your teeth you are brushing around the acid. Usually you want to wait about half an hour (after drinking coffee) before you brush your teeth.”

Many believe that brushing teeth directly after drinking coffee will simply brush coffee into the teeth. Werhanociz said this is not true. She said she believes the problem lies with the acid in the mouth getting spread around.

Adam Watson, junior English major, said one myth he has heard about having healthy teeth is the more often teeth are brushed, the healthier they are.

Werhanociz said frequent brushing can have a negative impact if one is too rough on his or her teeth. The issues that arise with constant brushing can be avoided by using a proper amount of force.

“If you brush too hard, you can damage your gums and teeth” Werhanowicz said. “You can recede the gums away if you brush too hard or too often.”

Regardless of how often teeth are brushed, the benefits of brushing are best received during long periods of not eating. Teeth are kept plaque-free for the longest amount of time when brushed before a long day or before sleep.

“Brushing a little while after breakfast and dinner is the best,” Werhanowicz said. “You don’t want to brush right away, but brushing after you eat will make your mouth feel minty fresh without causing damage.”

Anyone can throw around dental hygiene tips, but determining what is a myth and what is a fact is crucial and important to maintain a healthy smile.

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