It’s often said that the first thing someone notices about you is your smile, and good or bad, your pearly (or not so) whites have a central role to play in making that all-important first impression.
The state of your smile can also make or break your confidence, and if you grew up with crooked or stained teeth then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Low confidence can have a knock-on effect on all areas of your life – from your career to your romantic life – so if you have any residual issues that still bother you today, then there’s no time like the present to get them sorted.
Today, however, it couldn’t be easier to get your teeth looking back to their best and achieve that dazzling smile you’ve always dreamed of. And better yet, you can do the majority of it all from the comfort of your own home.
Unsure where to start? Take a look at our five top tips for healthy, happy teeth. Let the compliments begin.
Avoid charcoal teeth whitening
Charcoal toothpastes and powders have become increasingly popular in recent years, claiming to help remove stains and restore your teeth to their natural whiteness. But are they as effective as they are cracked up to be?
Although it has been shown to be effective in brightening discoloured teeth, the bad news is that it also has the potential to do some long-term damage to your enamel – the protective layer which covers your teeth and keeps them looking shiny.
With this in mind, they are best avoided – there are better and more effective ways to whiten your teeth.
There are a range of at-home tooth whitening kits now available from your local pharmacy if you’re eager to do a DIY job, and minor stains and discolouration can be quickly and easily treated with Crest Whitening Strips. Simply apply to teeth for the recommended time, remove, and you’re done – with minimal stress.
Limit sugar intake
When you consume sugary foods such as sweets, cakes or chocolate, the sugar combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create tooth-damaging acid, which attacks your smile and will eventually leave it looking far less than its best.
Although most foods contain some form of sugar – including fruit and dairy – some are worse than others. To be on the safe side, carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you and brush your teeth after any sugary meals or snacks. Or better still, keep your intake of particularly sugary foods to minimum – you’ll be doing your health a favour as well as your teeth.
Include the right foods in your diet
Although there are many foods that can have a detrimental effect on your enamel health, the good news is that there are plenty that have the opposite effect – and including more of them in your diet is a great way to enjoy some natural tooth cleaning and whitening effects.
Vegetables such as celery and cauliflower actually scrub your teeth as you chew, encouraging the production of saliva needed to neutralise acids within the mouth and thus protecting the teeth from damage.
Cheese fans will be happy to know that harder varieties, like Edam and Cheddar, have a similar effect! All the more reason to order that after-dinner cheese board.
Brush smarter, not harder
When teeth are stained or discoloured, it can be tempting to get a little over-enthusiastic with your toothbrush, but brushing harder isn’t the answer and can actually do more harm than good. Doing so can weaken your enamel and cause unnecessary damage to your gums – so always be gentle and brush in a circular motion for best results.
In order to avoid discolouration, brush and floss at least twice daily, but be gentle!
Keep up with your dentist appointments
Keeping up with your bi-annual dental check-ups is a must if you want to maintain your brightest, whitest and healthiest smile. Your dentist will be able to identify any problems or issues early on and recommend the best course of action – whether that’s seeing the hygienist regularly to have your teeth professionally cleaned or having a filling where things have already gone a little too far.
They are also able to offer a range of professional tooth-whitening treatments and can help with straightening crooked teeth by devising a personalised treatment plan for you.
There’s no replacement for a regular tooth-care regime and regular trips to the dentist, but keep up with these and you’re onto a winner. Look after your teeth now, and you’ll thank yourself for it later in life – and make all the right impressions along the way.