The rising cost of our essential goods and bills is driving many of us to look for areas where we can cut down on non-essential purchases, subscriptions and treatments. But this does not mean that you have to give up on having white teeth and a sparkling smile.
Getting a professional whitening from your dentist can be pricey and hard to justify in a cost of living crisis, so we spoke to Cosmetic Dentist Sundeep Patel, from Waldron Dental, to find out how you can get your teeth pearly white, for less and from home.
As always with dental care, the best measure you can take are preventative – but if you are not visiting a dentist any time soon, these five tips are the best way to stop your teeth from turning yellow and stained.
- Get the most out of your whitening products by using them before bed
Home tooth whitening kits can feel like a bit of a faff, but they certainly can a cheaper option than a visit to the dentist, if you are patient. However, there are ways to get the most bang for your buck when using whitening kits.
Sundeep Patel explains: “If you do have whitening products that have been given to you by a dental professional, then you should use these at night before you go to bed as opposed to in the day, this is because at night your saliva glands are switched off and so the whitening agent has a better chance of sticking to the teeth rather than being washed away by saliva.”
- Avoid certain food and drinks, including coffee and curry
Drinking coffee and smoking are well known for their tooth-staining effects, but did you know even foodstuffs like curry can turn your teeth from that nice white colour?
Sundeep Patel explains the science behind staining: “If you want to keep a bright smile, you should avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, red wine, curry and dark coloured berries.
“This is almost made worse in Autumn when these types of drinks become more popular. There are lots of microscopic holes, pits and ridges all over your teeth, and drinks that pass through your mouth will trap bacteria particles, storing them until they are removed by cleaning the teeth.
“This can cause staining as the bacteria particles sit within those holes and ridges leaving your teeth looking stained, dull and grey. This can only really be reversed by a professional clean and whitening so try to avoid at all costs if you can to prevent any unwanted stainage.”
- Consider using a straw for drinks.
Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but these days you can pick up re-usable metal straws from most supermarkets, or online retailers. These can be key to keeping off those troublesome stains.
Sundeep Patel explains how to get away with a few naught treats: “If you are a bit of a caffeine addict and can’t go without a daily coffee, then you should try and use a metal straw to drink these dark coloured beverages as opposed to sipping.
“When you sip a drink, the dark liquid is more likely to travel around your mouth and teeth causing stainage, whereas drinking through a straw; it will avoid the teeth. If you like dark coloured fizzy drinks such as coca cola, you should definitely be using a straw.”
- Pick a toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide
Picking the right toothpaste can be key to keeping those pearly whites, well, pearly white. If you want your toothpaste to do some of the work for you, check the ingredients.
Sundeep Patel explains: “If you would like a cheap and easy way to help keep your teeth white, opting for a whitening toothpaste will help.
“You should go for ones that include hydrogen peroxide in their ingredient list as this works to remove any dark stains from the teeth and helps to keep the enamel bright and white, until your next whitening treatment.”
- Maintain good oral hygiene
As ever, there’s nothing that beats a good oral hygiene routine. Not only can this prevent staining, but it will ensure that your future dental check ups will be a bit less pricey too.
Sundeep Patel explains: “Another easy way to help keep your teeth in tip top condition and to help them remain white is by ensuring your oral routine is on top form.
“You should brush your teeth twice a day, morning and evening. I would recommend an electric toothbrush which will work harder to remove any stubborn stains, flossing twice a day or after each meal is advised.
“You can use mouthwash however be careful as some mouthwash can actually promote stainage, so opt for a whitening mouthwash if you can.”