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Healthy is better than perfect! Read this before upgrading your grin

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We live in a society where a flawless white smile is considered beautiful—and hundreds of advertisers will go out of their way to tell you how to get one. We’re cutting through the noise to send you this simple reminder: when it comes to your teeth, healthy is better than perfect.

If you’re thinking of improving your grin for cosmetic reasons, check out the tips below! And remember—your best bet for great teeth is a thorough, thoughtful oral care routine.

Don’t over-whiten
Whiter teeth are now pretty easily attainable, thanks to a boom in at-home and dental-office treatment options. But overdoing it can cause tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, enamel erosion, and other issues. The American Dental Association recommends consulting with your dentist before bleaching, especially if you have many fillings, crowns, or very dark stains. He or she should help you determine a treatment that’s best for your teeth.

Embrace the gap
Got a gap between your front teeth? Don’t get rid of it just yet—it’s part of what makes you distinctive! Many models and celebrities have proudly kept their gap, embracing its uniqueness. If it’s not harming the alignment of your teeth, you might want to leave it be. After all, it’s considered beautiful in many cultures. And it’s good luck in France, where the nickname for gap teeth is dents du bonheur, or “lucky teeth”!

Beware of buzz
Don’t fall too hard for suddenly-popular oral health trends that promise amazing results, like oil pulling or banana-peel whitening. Much like any wellness trend, it’s important to find out whether it does any genuine good. Use credible sources like medical journals to seek out the science behind the sensation. And even if the trend is beneficial to your oral health, never let it replace your regular brushing and flossing routine.