Doing the white stuff... at home

Simon Cowell showing the benefits of teeth whitening.
Simon Cowell showing the benefits of teeth whitening.

AS Simon Cowell rose to fame, so did the colour of his teeth, he is even reported to gves his buddies teeth whitening courses as pressies. The music mogul knows a few things about ageing and teeth in good condition can take years off of you.

Tom Cruise definitely benefited from a little dental work. When he started in Hollywood first his pearly whites looked a lot different as was Kate Beckinsale and Zac Efron.

Nearer to home Niall Horan recently had his braces removed and said afterwards that his teeth look like Simon Cowell's. As soon as X-Factors James Arthur won, he said he was getting his teeth fixed first. So, we may not be able to have Simon's veneers, but they are great products out there to give a whiter, brighter smile.

On the path to whiter teeth, the first stop is the dentist to make sure all is well and to discuss a plan of action. If a special occasion is on the agenda I would highly recommend teeth whitening with your dentist and follow up with these few tips afterwards.

Go on a 'white' diet: if it's dark before you put it your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Culprits include red wine, black tea, coffee, Coke and cigarettes. Opt for foods that are firm or crisp, such as apples, raw carrots, celery and strawberries. Make these foods the final food after you eat a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth after eating.

Brush your teeth first thing in the morning and last thing at night, because saliva dries up at night so it is good to have plaque cleaned off before you sleep. In the morning brush off plaque and bacteria that may have built up as you slept.

Floss every day - dental tape in a lot easier if you find flossing tricky. Mouthwash is great for freshness and can reach areas not touched by brushing alone, as the ad says. Opt for alcohol-free mouthwash as the alcohol can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria. Limit your sugary foods to avoid tooth cavities, but if you do choose a sugary or high acid food, chew a sugar-free gum as this will increase salivary flow in your mouth to get rid of lingering sugar and neutralise acids faster.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended by most dentists for their superior performance. They tend to have small brush heads that can cup around the tooth and are faster and more efficient in cleaning areas of the mouth where bacteria and plaque collect.

Change your toothbrush regularly, every 2 - 3 months, for good dental hygiene. If you do not, bacteria will collect on the bristles and you will transfer them back into your mouth.

Use a fluoride toothpaste as it will help strengthen your enamel, making it tougher for bacteria acids to it break down.Toothpaste also helps control plaque build up. Avoid dry mouth as saliva provides an essential defence against tooth decay. If you do suffer from chronic dry mouth your dentist can recommend several products to combat this problem. Avoid sugary drinks and energy drinks especially between meals.

As far as whitening toothpastes go, White Glow is very popular - this is Australia's number 1 range of tooth whitening toothpaste. It comes in a few choices, smokers formula, coffee and tea, anti- plaque and herbal whitening. Even if you are not a smoker, the smoker one is excellent for ordinary stains. Arm and Hammer is also very good and I find their booster is brilliant, use this one over your fluoride toothpaste and brush as normal - it promises whiter teeth in just one week.

Holly Willoughby is the face of Oral -B, 3D white. It has a gentle foaming formula which whitens the front, the back and visible surface between teeth. Sensodyne also offer a range of oral care products for sensitive teeth. The range includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss.

Polarwhite have a pen which has uses potent active ingredients that gently eliminate discolourations, visibly whiting even the most tarnished teeth without harming the tooth enamel, proving suitable for even sensitive teeth.

My favourite is Whizzer whitening strips, they are completely translucent, ultra thin and dissolve in just 5- 10 minutes. They contain the same ingredients used by dentists, so they are clinically proven to be clean and effective. Apply to bottom teeth first and then top. The results are long lasting - highly recommended.

Rapid White Express Max Effect 5-minute dissolving tooth whitening strips are just out, these guys work on the same principal but have a very strong lemon taste. Pearlys are a new range and will be hitting the shelves soon. Fans of pearlys include Alexandra Burke, JLS, Mark Wright and Pixie Lott. They have a teeth whitening pen which is perfect to maintain a brighter smile on the go, and they also have a great foam that you add before you brush.

Last word on teeth whitening has to go Ellen DeGeneres who said 'I swear if Colgate comes out with one more toothpaste. I just want clean teeth that's all I want. I don't want tarter and I don't want cavities and I want white teeth. How come I have to choose? And then they have Colgate Total that supposedly has everything in there. I don't believe that for one second. If it's all in one, how come they make all the others? Who's going; I dont mind the tartar so much?'

• Next week new treatments and products.


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