When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Is it time spent at the beach or pool, nights of fun with friends, graduation or summer weddings? Gleaming white teeth and a wide smile convey an air of confidence that is important in any situation, from first dates to job interviews. Teeth whitening procedures are extremely effective, but small daily steps can also be helpful. Here are some tips to help maintain a healthy smile all summer long:

•    BRUSH TEETH BEFORE GOING FOR A RUN – Running dries out the mouth and any plaque that already exists on the gum line will tend to dry out and calcify, resulting in discoloration and even gum disease. A quick brush before leaving for a run can help solve this problem.

•    SNACK ON CRUNCHY FRUITS AND VEGGIES – Mildly abrasive fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots or celery not only provide the body with essential nutrients, but also act as a natural toothbrush by gently scrubbing off small bits of plaque that have gathered on the teeth and gums.

•    SWISH WITH WATER AFTER DRINKING TEA OR COFFEE – Coffee, tea and other dark liquids can stain the teeth and leave them looking dingy. To prevent discoloration, simply swish water around in your mouth immediately after consuming a staining liquid.

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