A killer smile soon gets everyone's attention, but you don't have to be blessed with good genes to get one. If your teeth are less than perfect or you hate how they look, it doesn't mean that things are automatically a lost cause. Here are some tips for improving your teeth so you've got good reason to smile!
Look after your mouth
A gorgeous smile starts with good oral hygiene. Dental expert, Graham Barnby, who is the Dental Consultant for the Arm & Hammer brand in the UK, suggests cleaning your teeth for a bare minimum of three minutes to make sure that you're getting rid of as much plaque as possible. As well as brushing, Barnby stresses the importance of using floss or interdental brushes to remove plaque from between the teeth.
Ditch the sweet treats
Sugar can be very detrimental to oral health, not least because it's a big factor in tooth decay. "Sugars can be broken down to acid by plaque in just 25 seconds," Barnby warns. "If you want to eat sweets, eat them just after a meal and limit the number of times you have them during the day." Opt for regular meals that are high in fiber but low in sugars, advises Barnby.
Get regular dental check-ups
Ideally, you should have check-ups every six months to keep your mouth in tip-top condition. This ensures that any tooth and gum problems can be treated early, and having your teeth professionally cleaned also removes stains and plaque and keep your pearly whites at their optimal glow.
If you want to get your teeth whitened on a more permanent basis, Barnby urges caution with regard to home whitening kits. "The only whitening that is effective and safe to use is the system available at dental practices," he argues. "Do not buy from the Internet or other places as you really don't know what is in them. It is probably more expensive to have whitening done with the dentist, but you can be assured that there will be no damage to your teeth."
Get straighter teeth
For those of you who've not already had braces, it's not too late to get them in adulthood. If that automatically conjures up images of a mouthful of metal, you'll be pleased to know that invisible braces are now an option. In particular, Invisalign® braces involves removable aligners rather than fixed "train track" brackets and is much more discreet than you might expect. Because they can be easily taken out, activities like brushing and flossing are much easier.
Don't neglect your lips
It's no good having perfect teeth if you're going to ruin the effects with dry, flaky lips. Use a good lip balm on a daily basis, and do your best to eat a balanced diet as vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to dry and cracked lips (especially with the 'B' vitamins).
Make-up for a whiter smile
Did you know using the right make-up can make your teeth look a shade or two brighter?
- Try a berry or red lippo or dark lipstick with blue undertones to brighten your smile, and avoid pink and coral shades which can make your teeth appear yellow.
- You know how wearing white emphasizes a summer tan? The reverse is also true. Apply a self-tanner to give your smile an extra glow.
- Bronzers that are more brown rather than gold also make smiles appear whiter.