Wish you had close to perfect pearly whites? (Who doesn't!) Then make all of these dental health tips a part of your daily routine.It's probably no surprise that a bright, white smile can make you appear younger and more attractive.In fact, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a whopping 96 percent of respondents surveyed believe that an attractive smile makes a person more appealing. But good dental health goes beyond the way you look.The mouth is the gateway to the body, which means the state of your teeth and gums affect your overall health. By following these steps to a better smile, you’ll be taking important strides for the rest of your body too.Brush regularlyBrushing is the cornerstone of dental hygiene. It removes food particles that bacteria feed on, cleans teeth and freshens breath. A toothpaste containing fluoride helps strengthen teeth, but you must brush for at least two minutes to allow it to work. Many electric toothbrushes have a built-in two-minute timer, which can make brushing for the full amount of time easier.Floss dailyFlossing removes the bacteria from in between your teeth where your toothbrush does not reach, which helps prevent gum diseases. It is recommend to floss twice a day, but if you want to floss just once a day, then its better to floss before bedtime because during sleep you produce less saliva, which leave teeth and gums particularly vulnerable to bacteria.Visit your dentistVisit your dentist at least twice a year for thorough dental cleaning. Your dentist can spot early signs of gum disease, which is more easily treated when detected at the earlier stages. If you are prone to gum disease and cavities, consider visiting your dentist every four months. Similarly, if you have other health conditions that put you at higher risk for dental problems(such as diabetes, or a depressed immune system from HIV, cancer, or chemotherapy), ask your dentist how often you should have an exam. A special dental-hygiene regimen should be considered for pregnant women, people with diabetes and anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment or using medications that can affect the gums(such as antiepileptics) or dry the mouth(some psychiatric medications).It's wise to examine your own mouth regularly for signs of trouble, such as a non healing sore on the lip or inside of your cheek, swollen or sensitive/bleeding gums. If you notice any of these conditions, make an extra dental appointment to have them checked out.Eat a healthy dietInclude plenty of dairy and other calcium-rich foods, like sardines and kale, in your diet. Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth, and vitamin C in citrus fruits boost gum health.Equally important to what you do eat is what you don't. Sugary and sticky foods that stick to the crevices of your teeth are particularly bad, as bacteria feed off the sugars and release acids that cause cavities. If you do eat candy or other sweets, try to brush immediately afterward or, if that's not possible, rinse your mouth with water.Don't smoke or use smokeless tobaccoPeople who smoke are four times more likely to have gum disease than non smokers, according to a study by the Journal of Periodontology. Using smokeless tobacco increases a person's risk for oral cancers, including lip, tongue, cheeks, and gums. On a smaller scale, tobacco products contribute to bad breath, or halitosis.Whiten teethWhile the benefits are solely cosmetic, with today's products, whitening is a very safe procedure that will not harm your teeth as long as the products are used as directed and you are under the care of a dentist.Over-the-counter whitening products are effective for minor staining, professional-strength whitening products are better for more-severe yellowing.Speak to your dentist before undergoing any whitening procedure to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.Consider cosmetic proceduresThe first thing a person sees when they meet you is your smile, and having crooked, stained, or missing teeth can affect your confidence. There have been great advances in cosmetic dentistry over the past decade, and it is possible to fix most cosmetic problems. Veneers for improving the appearance of crooked, stained, or oddly shaped teeth and orthodontics for straightening teeth are only two of the many cosmetic procedures offered. However, most cosmetic dentistry is not covered by insurance, and can be costly. It's important to schedule a consultation with an experienced cosmetic dentist prior to undergoing any type of procedure.