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Can you believe we are half way through 2013? It seems like, just yesterday, we were cheering in the New Year. But here we are, at the beginning of summer.

So, with the weather warming up and people concentrating on their summer wardrobe, I thought we should talk about what your most important summer accessory will be: your SMILE =)

A national survey from the American Dental Association, Crest® and  Oral B® found that the smile outranked eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature on the opposite sex.  However, “men and women differ when it comes to taking care of their teeth and gums. The nationally representative survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older found 86 percent of women brush their teeth twice or more a day, yet only 66 percent of men do so,” according to the survey. And everybody needs to floss more “Only half of those surveyed (49 percent) say they floss their teeth once a day or more often.”

How can we brighten up our smiles?

At-home whitening products are very popular. Lyndon Cooper, D.D.S., Ph.D., former president of the American College of Prosthodontists suggests whitening toothpaste or white strips. Though, the later may cause tooth sensitivity. He also suggests beginning your teeth-whitening regimen (even whitening strips) a few weeks before your dentist visit. “This way your dentist can address any sensitivity issues,” he says. “And if the product doesn’t work, he or she can determine if the discoloration is more serious.”

The most common in-office whitening procedure involves custom-made trays filled with stronger bleaching solution (than what is available in over the counter solutions) that fit over teeth. A light or heat source is used to speed up the whitening process. This process gives you the best whitening available.

What is the best solution for you? “If your teeth and gums are in excellent condition, you may want to consider an [at-home] whitener,” says Kellee Kattleman Stanton, DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. But if your teeth or gums are sensitive, at-home whiteners may not be the best choice as they can cause irritation. At that point, it is best to visit your dentist.

What’s the best way to keep that smile shinning? Dr. Ada Cooper, an ADA consumer adviser and practicing dentist in New York City says, “Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly can help keep your smile healthy.”

So, instead of hitting the mall and looking for that perfect summer dress, let’s think about our dentists and get that perfect summer smile! Don’t have a dentist? Check out DentistUSA.com. A quick check up can brighten up your smile and help brighten up your summer!