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February is a month of love; it’s pretty much everywhere. From the reds and pinks and candy at the grocery store, to the TV commercials and calls to pamper a sweetheart — Valentine’s Day seems to be on the forefront of everyone’s thoughts this month.

While it’s easy to get distracted by the quest to find that perfect gift for that special someone, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too! The best way to do this is to start with your smile.

Aside from being the first thing people notice about you, your smile is the window to your overall health. There’s a reason we wash our hands before eating! Beyond protecting your mouth from external intruders, there are ways to show your smile some love this month — and every month! Some of these methods include:

Brushing Your Teeth for Two Minutes, Two Times Daily
The American Dental Association and dentists recommend brushing twice per day, usually in the morning and at night. This helps keep your teeth and mouth clean and refreshed by removing bacteria that cause plaque and bad breath. Don’t forget to scrape or brush your tongue, as well!

Floss Daily
Using dental floss or a floss pick on a daily basis cleans the spaces between your teeth that are missed by the toothbrush. In fact, using a toothbrush alone misses 35 percent of your tooth surface, which opens the door for bacteria to linger and create plaque buildup. It’s worth the extra minute to floss!

Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a great addition to your daily dental health routine. It helps remove any lingering bacteria and freshens your breath! Talk to your dentist about choosing the right mouthwash for you because there are many different options.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
A regular dental exam and cleaning are the best methods for showing your smile the love it deserves! Typically dentists recommend seeing your smile twice a year, or every six months. A dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and below the gum line. Cleanings also help to check for periodontal disease and signs of oral cancer. Plus, your dentist and the team enjoy catching up with you!

Smile Regularly
Showing off your healthy, beautiful smile is the ultimate reward for good dental health! Remember, your smile is the first thing people notice about you, so give them your best grin. Smiling regularly improves your mood by releasing endorphins. Smiling also requires fewer muscles than frowning, and it helps you feel more relaxed. Give it a try and smile!