Did you know that most people notice your smile before anything else about you? When you first meet someone, you usually greet them with a handshake and a dazzling display of your pearly whites, so of course, your smile plays a pivotal role in how people perceive you.

According to a survey by Delta Dental, 47 percent of Americans listed a smile as the most important physical feature of a person, followed by eyes and physique. Also, 64 percent said a person’s likelihood of success is partially determined by their smile.

With all that emphasis on your smile, you need to make sure you take care of your oral health so that you not only feel great but also present your best self to others. Certain lifestyle habits and substances can compromise a beautiful smile, so avoid these things if you want to keep your smile intact.

Here are five toxic things that can ruin your smile:


1. Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetics have a higher likelihood of developing periodontal disease than others. People with problems balancing their blood sugar have a greater risk of gum decay, but brushing and flossing regularly can reduce the possibility of developing periodontal diseases. By maintaining proper gum health, diabetics can can even lower the amount of insulin they need to take.

2. Wine

Despite all of the claims and studies that have come out citing wine as perfectly healthy, it can take quite a toll on one’s tooth enamel, and also cause discoloration of the teeth. You might not consider the effects of drinking wine on your oral health, but drinking even one glass a night elevates your risk of mouth cancer, sucks the calcium from your teeth, promotes bad breath, and can severely dry out your mouth, creating an imbalanced pH level. However, if you enjoy drinking wine, just make sure to avoid swishing it around in your mouth since this greatly contributes to enamel erosion. Instead, drink small sips, and rinse your mouth with water afterward.

3. Black tea and coffee

Our world practically runs on coffee, and while it’s delicious, it can cause discoloration of the teeth. Some people choose to drink dark tea and coffee through a straw, but if you can’t picture yourself doing that, simply drink more water each day to counteract the coffee or tea, or add milk to lower the beverage’s acidity.

4. Forgetting to floss

While many of us probably don’t jump up and down at the thought of flossing, it should be a regular part of your dental routine. Flossing removes plaque from hard-to-reach spots between your teeth, helps promote a whiter smile, and can even make your breath smell better. It takes a few minutes to do, and while it might hurt at first if you haven’t flossed in a while, your teeth will feel much healthier and cleaner.

5. Whitening products

While your pearly whites might look better on the surface after using whitening agents, these abrasive products can cause quite a lot of damage under the surface. The bleach in whitening strips can severely weaken tooth enamel and cause irreversible tooth damage in some cases. If you want whiter teeth, some of the easiest ways to obtain a brighter smile include eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, cutting out or limiting soft drinks, caffeinated beverages, and sugar-laden foods, drinking plenty of water, and flossing regularly.

No need to put your oral health at risk just to get an artificially brighter smile; you can do that much cheaper and more effectively by reaching into your fridge and grabbing some healthy snacks!


Final Thoughts on Having a Radiant, Healthy Smile

Finally, remember that a healthy, radiant smile doesn’t just have to do with how bright and polished your teeth look; you also need to take care of your mental and emotional health. Working on your physical appearance is not good if you have underlying causes of unhappiness and distress. The best smiles come from the heart, so make sure you take the time to give yourself the love and care you deserve, and that will start to reflect outwardly in your smile and overall demeanor.