Professional and at-home teeth whitening kits can help to leave teeth looking visibly whiter, but good oral health and teeth-friendly lifestyle choices have a key role to play in achieving and maintaining the best teeth whitening results.
Here’s our guide to some easy lifestyle hacks for a whiter-looking smile.
Protect your teeth
OK, it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but looking after the protective enamel on your teeth is important in terms of oral health and teeth whitening. If the enamel on your teeth wears away, teeth can appear discoloured as this allows the yellow layer underneath the enamel to show through.
You only have so much enamel on your teeth and it has to last a lifetime so it’s well worth looking after it.
Here’s a few simple lifestyle rules to help keep enamel wear to a minimum and teeth looking whiter:
DO chew sugar free gum after eating; it helps to remove any food that is sitting on the teeth and increases the flow of saliva to help harden the enamel surface.
DON’T brush your teeth for 2 hours after consuming acidic foods and juices. Acid attacks the surface of the enamel leaving it in a softened state. By delaying brushing your teeth by 2 hours it will allow time for the saliva to wash over the teeth and harden the enamel surface.
DON’T brush your teeth too rigorously and do use a soft toothbrush to clean teeth whilst respecting enamel and gums.
DO eat cheese! It helps to raise the plaque calcium levels and help to harden the softened enamel.
A TEETH-FRIENDLY DIET
You know that saying, ‘an apple a day’? Well it’s not such a bad idea. Apples, as well as celery and carrots, are considered some of nature’s natural toothbrushes. Eating these crunchy foods can help to increase the production of saliva in your mouth, which in turn helps to remove plaque, cleaning your teeth as you chew.
There’s also foods you should avoid if you want to keep your teeth looking white, and you can easily help to prevent extra stains to your teeth by avoiding the common culprits. To keep teeth looking white, consume less dark liquids and foods that stain, such as curry, tea, coffee and red wine (although drinking this through a straw will help). As a rule of thumb, avoid anything that would stain a white t-shirt!
A smoother smile
When plaque is left to build-up on the teeth it leaves a rough surface which stains will cling to, so a smoother smile is a whiter smile.
A quick and easy step to help minimize stains is to ensure that plaque that has built up over the day is removed before going to sleep each night. Plaque constantly builds-up on your teeth and it’s important to try to remove it, or at least disturb it so it doesn’t have a chance to mature and cause trouble. If there is any soft plaque left on your teeth overnight it may dry-out and start to harden to form tartar, which creates a rough surface that will attract stains.
Cleaning teeth with a toothbrush alone will remove about two thirds of the plaque. Arm yourself with the tools of the trade such as dental floss, tooth picks and water picks to help remove plaque from between the teeth.
Your whitening wardrobe
Nothing beats looking after your oral health for whiter-looking teeth but a couple of smart wardrobe choices can go a long way too. A bright white shirt will visually contrast with your teeth, making them appear dull. Try opting for a cream or off-white number instead which will help to reduce this contrast and make your teeth appear whiter.
Your choice of lipstick can make a big difference too. Frame your smile with a lipstick with blue tones, it’ll make your teeth look whiter by cancelling out orange or yellow tones. Coral and orange lipsticks on the other hand will bring out any discolouration in your teeth so approach with caution!