WE ARE constantly confronted with images of models with rows of healthy, straight, white teeth, leaving even the least vain of us keen for a perfect smile.
Modern dental advancements have meant many smaller aesthetic issues, such as discoloured teeth, can now be treated quickly, painlessly- and even sometimes- at home.
Much of this begins with the basics, and if you want to make any changes to the look of your teeth it is more important than ever to continue brushing twice a day, and even after meals.
To do this in the optimum way to protect your teeth, this means brushing first thing in the morning before eating, but at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking as acidic foods and drinks can soften dental enamel, meaning you simply start damaging your own teeth if you brush too soon afterwards.
The same damage can occur by using the wrong tooth brush or too aggressive a technique. Try to find a brush that is firm enough for a thorough clean but never uncomfortable, and a technique which means you apply enough pressure to feel the bristles on your gum but not too much that you are squashing or flattening them.
Electric toothbrushes are generally agreed to be more effective than manual ones, and often will include a sensor warning if you are brushing too hard.
Apart from brushing, it is also important to regularly floss, and use mouthwash (although not straight after brushing as this can erode enamel too).
While you are trying to achieve a whiter smile, it may seem like a good idea to reach straight for a whitening product on the supermarket shelf. Some dentists advise against this, however, claiming some harsher whitening products simply contain abrasive products to literally ‘slough’ stains from teeth.
While this will inevitably remove some discolouration, it can also remove tooth enamel, ultimately resulting in damaged teeth, increased sensitivity or tooth pain, and even potentially yellower teeth.
Instead, if you want to achieve a whiter smile at home, look for a toothpaste which actually remineralises teeth with fluoride, both helping to strengthen enamel, and also providing a whitening effect from the new, stronger tooth layer.
For the safest, most efficient ways to whiten your smile, or improve the look of your teeth in any way, however, it is always best to consult with your dentist who will help you choose from the many options available.