Though many of us tend only to think of skin when it comes to anti-aging, our teeth also play a big part in keeping us looking youthful and healthy. Because teeth naturally yellow as we get older, maintaining pearly whites can take years off our appearance – and frankly, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a beautiful smile. Luckily there’s no shortage of effective whitening products on the market and we asked New York cosmetic & restorative dentist, Dr. Nancy Rosen, to dispense some professional advice on how to get the best results. So read on – you’re just 10 tips away from your most gorgeous smile yet.
Find out what you need to start doing now for whiter teeth!
Try an at-home whitening system. An over-the-counter whitening system is a safe, affordable, and non-invasive way to whiten teeth. This kit comes with bleach bumpers that keep the peroxide off the gums and prevent saliva from washing away the product. (IntelliWhite Double Bright Teeth Whitening Kit, $69.50, hsn.com)
Maintain with a whitening toothpaste. Brushing daily with a whitening toothpaste is the best thing you can do to maintain results after using a treatment system because they effectively remove suface stains that might develop again, says Dr. Rosen. (Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh Toothpaste, $3.85, P&G E-Store)
Floss daily. Flossing isn't just important for overall teeth and gum health, it also prevents stains from developing between teeth, advises Dr. Rosen. Look for one that's coated with a whitening abrasive to help break down stains in the hard-to-reach spots. (Supersmile Whitening Floss, $7.00, skinstore.com)
Drink dark liquids through a straw. Daily drinks like coffee, tea, and soda can stain teeth, so drink them (even the hot ones!) through a straw and avoid swishing the liquid in your mouth. If using a straw is not possible, Dr. Rosen advises drinking water afterward to wash away any stained saliva. (Hot Straw 3-Pack, $6.95, hotstraw.com)
Chew gum after eating. Obviously it's not possible to avoid all staining foods (anything from berries to balsamic vinegar) entirely, so Dr. Rosen recommends chewing gum after eating to loosen and remove stains. We would also never advise drinking red wine through a straw, so the gum trick is great after a glass or two. (Trident White Mint Gum, $9.99, soap.com)
Polish with an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes use the same circular motion as in-office cleaning tools and polishes teeth by physically scrubbing away any surface stains. (Oral B Professional Precision 5000, $104.97, amazon.com)
Wear lipstick with blue undertones. Blue based reds will counteract yellow, giving the appearance of whiter teeth. Avoid lipsticks with too much orange, brown, or coral as they emphasize any discoloration in teeth. (YSL Rouge Pur Couture #1, $32, YSL Beauty)
For tough stains, try a professional treatment. An in-office treatment such as Zoom Whitening uses a special light activated bleach to remove stubborn stains and only takes 45 minutes to get your teeth to its whitest. Before going in for a treatment, be sure to brush with Sensodyne and use a fluoride rinse for two weeks to avoid sensitivity during the procedure, says Dr. Rosen. (Philips Zoom Whitening, at select dentists' offices)
Don't forget to touch up. Keep portable whiteners in your purse so you can touch up anywhere. These ampules polish teeth to remove surface stains and prevent new stains from setting. (GoSmile Touch Up Ampules in Watermelon Mint, $35, qvc.com)
Eat your fruits and vegetables (raw). In addition to keeping you healthy, eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and apples, help whiten teeth naturally by physically breaking down surface stains and stimulating saliva to wash away acids that leave teeth prone to discoloration.