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Yes, Your Smile Ages Too — 3 Dentist Tips To Keep Teeth White & Healthy

Jamie Schneider
April 13, 2023
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by Lucas Ottone / Stocksy
April 13, 2023
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Every beauty professional has their nonnegotiable steps. In our series Like a Pro, we tap experts for the top three techniques they absolutely swear by. Here, you'll hear from a variety of industry insiders on the fail-safe tricks they always keep in their back pockets. We're all about simplifying your beauty regimen wherever you can, and sometimes the best routines are as easy as 1, 2, 3.

What's the first place to show signs of skin aging? It ultimately differs for everyone, but most start to notice fine lines around the eyes. Others swear the neck turns crepey first, while some say the backs of your hands are a dead giveaway. 

But according to premier cosmetic dentist Victoria Veytsman, DDS, it's your smile that contains the most drastic change. "This may come as a surprise, but the smile is actually one of the first places in your body that aging shows up," she reveals to mbg.

Just think about how often you use your mouth, from chewing to eating to speaking, smiling, and expressing. "It definitely takes the brunt of the force when it comes to aging," she adds. 

Although, an "aging smile" means so much more than dull, discolored teeth or a few lip lines: You may notice some more tooth stains, sure, but as your enamel weakens, you may also experience chipping or microfractures. "The smile really makes up and supports the lower third of your face, so aesthetically and functionally, we want to make sure to maintain our smiles as we age," Veytsman declares. 

How do you make sure your smile remains bright and healthy? Follow her expert tips ahead: 


Keep up with oral hygiene 

"Health is really the foundation of all beauty, so a healthy smile will usually lead to a beautiful smile—not the other way around," says Veytsman. That said, prioritizing oral care will ultimately lead to a stronger, healthier, and whiter smile as you age.  

"Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day using an ultrasonic toothbrush, flossing, tongue scraping, using [gentle] mouthwash, and staying hydrated to keep a healthy oral microbiome," she notes. "All of this will keep your smile healthy and will even help you maintain the whiteness of your smile." 

You see, building up the tooth's natural enamel can not only buff away stains but prevent them from cropping up in the first place. And when your teeth and gums are healthier, they appear way less dull and dingy. 

A quick note about mouthwash: Traditional antiseptic rinses are incredibly antibacterial, which means they sweep away all the bacteria—good and bad—to give you that fresh, minty feeling. Your oral microbiome needs a healthy balance of good bacteria, which is why experts advise against frequently swishing with antiseptic formulas. That's not to say you can't use traditional mouthwash at all (for example, some may need to swish for medical reasons). Just try to limit your use, and perhaps opt for a non-antiseptic mouthwash that's gentle enough for your oral microbiome. (Find our recommendations here.)


​​For whiter teeth, don't brush right after eating

As you age, you may notice your teeth becoming more susceptible to staining as your enamel weakens. To prevent pesky stains, you might head straight for your toothbrush after sipping on coffee or red wine—but according to Veytsman, this is a big mistake. 

"What I would not recommend is brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking a staining food or drink, because it's acidic," she explains. "You are going to rub that acidic material into your teeth." Instead, rinse your mouth with plain water immediately after to prevent staining. 

You could also avoid those staining foods in the first place—although, that may not be realistic for coffee, lemon, and/or apple cider vinegar enthusiasts (self very much included). "You can do [white strips] at home for minimal stain removal and use whitening toothpaste for maintenance," Veytsman shares. Here, you can find our favorite tubes and whitening strips


Invest in a mouthguard

Another sign of aging in your smile? Gum recession, or when your gum line creeps higher up on the teeth than it's supposed to due to wear. "You may experience this purely because of your genetics," says Veytsman. "It can also happen if you brush too hard, have periodontal disease, or even if you grind your teeth." 

Assuming you're not prone to recession genetically, there are certain habits you can do to prevent stripping away your gum tissue. "If you grind your teeth, I would recommend wearing a nightguard, because that's often a culprit of receding gums," she notes. (Here's an affordable set from Amazon.) "I would also recommend using a very soft toothbrush and not brushing too hard, as you really want to be careful not to push up on the gum tissue too much." 

The takeaway

Oral care deserves way more attention in the healthy aging conversation. "Most people think of the smile as the lone ranger in the beauty and health fields, but it's really such an integral part to overall health and facial beauty," Veytsman notes. After all, your mouth is the gateway to your body and the beginning of your gastrointestinal tract1—and we likely don't need to remind you of the gut-skin connection. All that to say: When it comes to healthy aging skin care, we shouldn't ignore the power of a good brush and floss. 

Jamie Schneider author page.
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.