The secret answer to white, healthy teeth

Teeth clean‘Advanced formulas’, ‘extreme-clean’ products, ‘micro-clean’ pastes, ‘triple-action’ toothpaste. These are just some of the claims made on toothpaste tubes in the supermarket or pharmacy aisles. So how do you know which ones are better than others?

In 2012, an investigation into 17 so-called whitening toothpastes found that the straight shooting no-frills pastes work just the same as those ones claiming to whiten your teeth. In other words, a simple toothpaste will whiten just as much as one which claims to whiten, writes Leanne Amber.

How do toothpastes clean?

Quality toothpaste cleans your teeth, gums and tongue using a mild detergent, fluoride and a mild abrasive to help loosen and take off any plaque and bacteria. Whitening toothpastes generally contain the same ingredients as other toothpastes, with the exception of the whitening agent, peroxide. This however, occurs in very small amounts in toothpaste (approx 1%) and can be used as an accelerant, or to top up already whitened teeth.

How to get sparkling clean teeth

Cleaning your teeth twice daily is the most important part of maintaining good oral health and clean teeth. Choose a good, quality brand toothpaste and a quality brush with small bristles. The best way to ensure your teeth stay clean is to brush using small circular motions on the surface of your teeth, and be sure to brush top, bottom, front and back. And don’t forget to floss! Flossing removes any food and bacteria lodged between your teeth that your brush might not be able to move. It’s also the best way to help clean your gums between your teeth. Some people will experience bleeding gums when they floss. The more often you floss, the stronger your gums will be and the less they will bleed.

Avoid foods that stain!

It’s no surprise that what you eat has an effect on how you look – your teeth especially. Some foods weaken the enamel surface on your teeth, allowing yellow dentine to show through the weak surface. Foods and habits that stain include:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Sugary foods

Don’t forget that smoking also makes teeth go yellow due to the high nicotine and tar levels in the tobacco. When a smoker inhales, sticky residue is left behind on the teeth, causing a bacteria buildup and stains.

Other tooth-whitening options

If you’re looking for a quality, long lasting tooth whitening option, the best option is with your dentist. Whitening toothpastes, as mentioned don’t include enough peroxide to make a big enough difference to the shade of your teeth. Be careful of beauty salon and shopping centre whitening booths too, as they use dehydration techniques, which might whiten your teeth for a couple of hours, but have little or no lasting results.

Your dentist should be able to offer you both in-chair whitening treatments and take-home kits, depending on your preference. Take-home or DIY teeth whitening is a cost effective, dentist administered method for long lasting results you can do yourself.

Choosing a toothpaste doesn’t need to be as difficult as the marketing claims make it. To clean your teeth you simply need a quality toothpaste, a good, small bristled toothbrush and some dental floss. If you regularly clean your teeth and rinse your mouth after eating, you’ll keep your teeth in a good condition.

If you’re unsure about which toothpaste to choose, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist. For more information on take-home and in-chair teeth whitening, visit the Shore Dental website.

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