Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you, because it makes an instant connection, even between strangers, which is why it’s so important to take care of your teeth, which are on display every time you open wide.

1. Feed that smile. Say Cheese, literally. Cheese is the best food for your teeth, containing caseine and whey protein, which protects tooth enamel. Calcium and Vitamin D, found in milk, egg yolks and fish, are the most beneficial nutrients for your teeth.

2. Replace your toothbrush regularly. The bristles on your toothbrush flatten out, fray and become home to germs after some time. It’s a good idea to change your brush every three months. If you’ve gone through an illness, toss out the old toothbrush as soon as you recover; it may be carrying a residue of germs that might give you a relapse.

3. Floss regularly. Make a habit of flossing before you brush your teeth, at least at night. It works more effectively before brushing because it removes food particles trapped between your teeth that sometimes do not get dislodged by your toothbrush.

4. Avoid Toothpicks. They may cause more harm than helping to remove stuck food. You may inadvertently damage your gums by probing too deep. Floss is a much better alternative, as it also helps to remove plaque buildup.

5. Remove stains with baking soda. Once every two weeks, just put a little baking soda on your toothbrush and brush like you would with toothpaste. It will effectively remove stains left by tea, coffee and other staining foods. Apples, carrots, pears and celery are great for shiny teeth, because they trigger saliva that bathes and cleans your teeth.

6. Clean your tongue, it’s important. Every time you brush your teeth, make sure you brush over your tongue too, or use a tongue scraper to get rid of the residue that may be encouraging bacteria and bad breath.