teeth

Get your smile camera-ready with these spot-on dental health tips. Photo: Getty

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and therefore, lots and lots of photos.

We thought we'd help you get your smile ready for its close-up with advice from TLC's "10 Years Younger" star, Dr. Jamie Sands, a family and cosmetic dentist based in Studio City, California. In addition to running her own practice, she's currently partnered with Crest Pro-Health to offer consumers sugestions and tools for improving their oral health.

Read on for Dr. Sands tips and tricks for keeping your smile in tip-top condition, and also to learn about the benefits of Crest Pro-Health's latest product, the 6-in-1 Complete Rinse.

How to maintain a youthful, gleaming smile:
Prevention is the key to success. Neglecting your dental health as you age can have serious consequences, including premature aging of the smile (gum recession, chips/excessive wear and/or tooth discoloration) and the need for extensive and expensive corrective procedures. Make sure to see your dentist twice each year and make time for a complete oral health care routine every day, including flossing, brushing, and rinsing.

Top 3 Dos and 3 Don'ts when smiling for the camera:
Do: For a still photograph, bite down on your back teeth to make your jaw look more defined.
Do: Smile with your whole body. You've got to feel it to believe it.
Do: If you're going to have to hold your smile unnaturally long, put a little Vaseline across the front of your teeth. This will keep your lips from sticking to your teeth if your mouth gets dry.

Don't: Hold your smile longer than is comfortable. This creates a strained, unnatural look.
Don't: Have a fake expression. Instead, try to think of something that really makes you smile and run with that.
Don't: Drink coffee or red wine right before or you'll risk staining your teeth.

Good brushing techniques:
Many of my patients brush for less than one minute and think they've done a good job. When you brush, don't rush! Take enough time to do a thorough job -- up to two minutes each time, twice daily, and change your toothbrush every three months to get the best at-home care. And don't forget to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria! Also, brushing harder isn't better and does not lead to cleaner teeth. Brushing too hard can lead to gum recession and oversensitive teeth.

Common mistakes you see people make when it comes to dental health:
Many neglect to see the connection between smoking and good oral hygiene. Beyond the negative aesthetics of stained and discolored teeth, smoking can lead to gum problems that can result in premature (and preventable) tooth loss and it increases your risk of oral cancer.

A lot of people also neglect to use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride, because not all mouth rinses are created equal. Using a mouth rinse that contains fluoride is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are reaching the areas where brushing may have missed and is a powerful means of protecting teeth from decay.

Infrequent check-ups are another problem. Twice yearly cleanings and oral screenings are essential for individuals of all ages. For women over 35 or women who are pregnant, regular dental check-ups become even more important in the prevention of teeth, gum, and mouth disease.

Biggest benefit from the new 6-in-1 Crest Pro-Health Complete Rinse:
It strengthens enamel and fights cavities through the use of fluoride, while also cleaning teeth and gums, killing bad breath germs, and freshening breath. A common misconception is that cavities only impact children, but adults can get tooth decay, too, which is why I always recommend my patients use a fluoridated mouth rinse every time they rinse so that they can keep their smiles healthy. Plus, for people who prefer an alcohol-free mouth rinse but want the power of fluoride, this is a great option.

Loathe the way you look in photos, we've got expert tips on how a small tweak can dramatically change the way you look!