They say laughter is the best medicine, but for me it was tantamount to torture as I battled to disguise my embarrassing smile. For years I used to cover my face every time I laughed. Subconsciously I would raise my hand to my mouth the minute I feared a situation could become funny. What sort of life is that? Fearing laughter! I hated the way my teeth looked. Little did I know that all it would take was some white wine and cheese for me to achieve a pearly white smile capable of snowblinding Rylan Clark.
Ok, it might take a bit more than a lump of brie and a glass of Pinot to perfect that perfect grin. Good dental hygiene and a few well spent pounds can almost certainly get you a glaring set of gnashers. But what if you fear the expense, and methods, of achieving permanent pearly whites? I decided to consult leading dental expert Dr Richard Marques for his tips on achieving the perfect white-toothed smile, without the expense or impact of permanent surgery. This is what he advised:
1. Use Baking Soda!: Baking Soda is a natural teeth whitener and included in many toothpastes (such as the Arm&Hammer brands). Try mixing a quarter teaspoon of Baking Soda with water and applying this to the teeth with your toothbrush. Alternatively add the Baking Soda to a cheap toothpaste. It will not damage your teeth in any way but will make them look gradually whiter over time. Science-Baking Soda is a natural cleaning and oxidising agent.
2. Eat strawberries: due to the Malic acid these can naturally whiten your teeth. Science proves that Malic acid is a natural cleanser.
3. Warm salt water: this helps both whiten your teeth naturally and looks after your gums (as it is a natural antibacterial). Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm kettle boiled water (cool it down) and use it as mouthwash. Salt is a natural antibacterial working by attacking bacterial cell walls.
4. Eat white foods: the whiter the foods you eat the whiter your teeth will be. Eat chicken, rice and fish. Avoid pigmented foods such as beetroot, blueberries, carrots and Chinese/Indian takeaway (which has lots of turmeric or food colourings). White foods have no colourings. Food colourings stain teeth by binding to tooth surface.
5. Eat apples: apples are one of the natural teeth cleansing foods. Once again Malic acid is a natural cleanser.
6. Drink water or milk: you can also drink lemonade or tonic water. White wine is better than red wine. Calcium in milk helps strengthen tooth enamel and structure as well as jaw bone. Water is a natural cleanser washing away plaque.
7. Use an electric toothbrush: electric toothbrushes can remove up to 70% more plaque than manual brushes alone. The new Sonicare Black Diamond brush vibrates at a speed of 31,000 brush strokes per minute and also has whitening mode (that is a special 3 minute cycle for the all the teeth) to remove any stains. Electric toothbrushes remove more stains by vibrating or rotating in a more efficient and effective manner than manual brushing alone.
8. Eat cheese: another great naturally cleansing food that can strengthen the teeth. Cheese contains calcium and also has a cleansing surface structure (especially hard cheese like cheddar).
9. Use coconut oil as a mouth rinse (oil pulling): use a tablespoon of coconut oil and swill in the mouth for as long as you can. The longer the better (15mins is ideal time). This removes bacteria and helps prevent plaque and stains from sticking to teeth by lubricating them.
10. See your dentist regularly: to have the teeth cleaned and checked. You can also consider professional in-clinic laser teeth whitening if advised. Only your dentist can check thoroughly for cavities. X-Rays may be required to check the inside of the teeth and jaws. Laser teeth whitening uses hydrogen peroxide activated by a laser light to remove staining from inside the teeth in just 1 hour.
11. Think Charcoal! Charcoal is another effective way to help clean and whiten your teeth. It’s a 100% natural tooth polish made from activated coconut shell charcoal. It strengthens gums, removes toxins from the mouth and absorbs bacteria and is affordable – Diamond Whites for example offers this for only £16.99