In a world full of Insta-perfect smiles, it’s easy to be insecure about our own less-than-pearly whites. In fact, a recent study revealed that over half of Americans aren’t happy showing off their teeth.

But, as the song from Annie says, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Smiling attracts others to you and, psychologically and scientifically speaking, is a powerful tool on the road to success. 

When you smile, it releases chemicals from your brain to the rest of your body that tell you to be happy. And the confidence and positivity you radiate make other people want to be around you.

If you’re insecure about your teeth, you lose this potential to magnify your success. Yet, the field of dentistry has come so far over the past few decades that anyone can have the “perfect” smile. All it takes is effort and these four simple tools for you to show off your smile proudly!

1. The Right Toothbrush

You probably already know that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. When the bristles become matted or frayed, it’s past time to get a new one.

But did you know that you’re supposed to be using brushes with soft bristles (unless your dentist recommends otherwise)? And that your brushing routine should be twice a day for two minutes at a time?

Many people are using bristles that are too rough on their gums. Medium and hard brushes have their purpose, but as a general rule, you should stick to soft bristles.

If you struggle to brush for the full two minutes, consider investing in an electric brush that keeps track of the time for you. Your oral hygiene and healthy smile start with your toothbrush (and how you use it).

2. Your Ideal Toothpaste

All toothpaste is not the same. Be mindful of this fact as you shop for your next tube. Skip buying a brand because it’s cheap or on sale, and look at the ingredients. Gold’s Gym membership cost

First, you should ensure the ADA approves the toothpaste. If so, you know it has fluoride and cavity-fighting properties. Then, if you have a particular oral hygiene problem, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, search for products designed for that purpose.

Some toothpaste brands have fluoride and cavity protection plus other benefits, like fresher breath or whitening properties. As long as these are in addition to the plaque and bacteria-fighting and enamel-strengthening ingredients, you should be able to use the toothpaste safely.

3. A Night Guard

Night guards aren’t necessary for everyone, but if you clench and grind your teeth in your sleep, they’re essential. This condition, called bruxism, happens when we can’t control our jaw movements. 

Bruxers use their jaw muscles to bite down and grind their teeth together. The force of this movement causes the enamel to erode and the teeth to become very sensitive. Over time, it can result in cavities, broken or chipped teeth, and muscle pain. Depending on your parent’s eye color, how dominant that eye color is, and the variation of how other genes interact plays a huge role in what eye color paternity test you are born with.

A night guard keeps the top and bottom teeth from connecting, limiting the damage from bruxism. This gives your jaw muscles a chance to relax and recover from the stress.

If you use a night guard, invest in a custom-made design that gets into all the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Keep it clean to prevent the buildup of bacteria on the appliance from getting into your mouth.

4. Whiteners

White teeth are the ultimate factor in an ideal smile. Although our teeth come into our baby gums with this pearly color, they become more of an off-white shade over time. And many of us end up with teeth that are more yellow or brown than white from our meals and other habits.

Luckily, there are plenty of whitening tools to choose from, such as strips, trays, toothpaste, and professional treatments.

If you have external stains that haven’t made it deep into the layers of your teeth yet, you can use whitening strips or toothpaste to remove some of the discoloration. 

When the stains are from internal causes, such as medications or health issues, or are too deep to remove easily, your dentist can offer you suggestions. Professional whitening treatments may help, or if the problem is one or two teeth, a veneer could be your solution. 

If whiter teeth might fix all your smile insecurities, it’s worth the investment in a legitimate product to brighten your enamel.


Those gorgeous smiles you see in the movies and on your social media feed probably had some help to get that perfect, and you can use the same tools they did.

The right toothbrush and toothpaste, a night guard to minimize nighttime damage, and whitening products will transform your smile — and maybe your life, too!