All smiles are not created equal, but a bright, white grin can and should be high on everyone’s list of must-haves. It takes years off your looks and leaves a great lasting impression to everyone you meet.First and foremost, the health of your mouth should be top priority.
TOP TIPS FOR A HEALTHY MOUTH
- Visit your dentist regularly. For most people, checkups and cleanings are recommended twice a year so dental issues can be caught early when treatment is still manageable.
- Use a soft toothbrush. Dentists usually recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes because they effectively clean teeth without aggravating sensitive teeth or gums.
- Floss daily. Recent studies find that the bacteria commonly found on the teeth and gums has been shown to be in the bloodstream of patients with strokes, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Scrape your tongue often. It will improve your breath and help prevent periodontal problems like plaque build-up, cavities, and gum issues.
“White, straight, and longer upper teeth are more youthful looking,” says NYC-based top cosmetic dentist, Dr. Marc Lowenberg of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor. Though the color of your teeth don’t affect their health, stained or yellowed teeth can look unsightly and make you appear older than you are. To keep them from darkening, avoid intensely colored staining foods and drinks. Popular offenders are coffee, tea, red wine, soda, blueberries, and tobacco.
“It’s an amazing feeling to make people look better and younger simply by changing their smile,” says Dr. Lowenberg. His philosophy is definitely not a one-size-fits-all practice. “What looks good in one person’s mouth will not look good in someone else’s mouth. It’s essential to create a smile that’s just right for each individual.”
With Dr. Lowenberg’s expert tips you’ll be proud to grin and bare it:
- At-Home Whitening: Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips are a great option for at-home whitening on a budget. The bleach within the strips remains in contact with the tooth enamel long enough to deliver noticeable results. Whitening strips combined with daily use of a whitening toothpaste are an affordable alternative to maintaining a bright smile.
- In-Office Whitening: Power bleaching combined with custom take home trays made by your dentist is the most effective way to bleach your teeth. We use Zoom which requires three 15-minute cycles with another added if necessary. The effectiveness of a bleaching agent is based on two factors. 1) The percentage of hydrogen peroxide (the active bleaching agent) and 2) how well the bleaching agent remains isolated on the teeth. The reason why in-office whitening is the most effective is because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is very high, and the bleach remains isolated on the teeth very well for an ample amount of time. The bleaching trays are meant to boost the in-office treatment as well as maintain the effectiveness.
- Porcelain Veneers: Veneers can re-create perfect, natural-looking teeth in just two visits (spaced a week apart), and cannot only straighten the teeth but can also change the color and shape of the teeth. At the first visit, the tooth enamel is slightly roughened to prepare it for the veneers. At the second visit, the temporaries are removed and the customized porcelain veneers are bonded or glued onto the teeth, completing the transformation of your smile.
- Invisalign: Most adults who want to correct their crowded teeth aren’t wearing braces, making Invisalign very popular among adults. Invisalign is basically clear retainers (that are changed every two weeks) that slowly move the teeth into the correct position.
New York City cosmetic dentist Debra Glassman, DMD, is well known for her sparkling smile as well as the signature feminine touch she provides to the smiles of her patients—many of whom are women. Of late, Glassman has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of ProNamel Toothpaste, to draw attention to the deleterious effects that acid erosion can have on a smile and the surprising foods that can contribute to acid erosion.
She answered some questions about the new campaign, the latest and greatest in cosmetic dentistry, and what a healthy smile really looks like for Beauty in the Bag.
Here’s what she had to say:
Why does our oral health matter so much?
Taking care of your teeth is essential for so many reasons. By routinely flossing, brushing and using mouth rinse, you can decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers. Also, it’s especially important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth, because not doing so can lead to low birth weight in babies and even miscarriages.
What does a healthy beautiful smile look like?
While I see beautiful smiles every day, a healthy one results from regular brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. I recommend flossing before brushing, so any leftover food particles can be cleared away in the rinsing process. It’s also a good idea to use a soft-bristled tooth brush and change out your tooth brush every three months; six months for electric tooth brushes.
What are some of the newest trends in cosmetic dentistry?
We’re seeing lots of of pre-filled whitening trays which are very user-friendly and especially great for travelers. These trays whiten teeth eight to 10 shades whiter through half hour-a-day usage over a 10-day period. Invisalign is also an invisible way to straighten teeth, and because of the trays and excellent technology, we can now speed the process up by 40-50 percent, making it quicker and more comfortable for patients.
We also have the ability to do crowns and bridges without using any metal and instead using all white, very strong materials. These substances look like natural teeth and make it easier for dentists to see future decay and diseases at a very early stage.
Do any of the over-the-counter products (whitening strips, for example) make a difference?
OTC products work if they’re the proper choice for the patient. For example, whitening strips work well on small teeth, because they cover the entire tooth and crevices between teeth. Strips are not good for larger teeth, because they can’t cover the whole area for whitening. Those with larger teeth should instead use gels so that all of their teeth are covered and the whitening will be even. As always, make sure to follow product directions properly. I also personally recommend using ProNamel toothpaste, which is specially formulated to strengthen tooth enamel and can help reduce your risk for acid erosion. It’s also the #1 dentist-recommended brand for protection against the effects of acid erosion.
What does acid erosion do to a smile?
Acid erosion is a condition where your tooth enamel can become weakened and softened, which can then be more easily brushed away over time. While only a dental healthcare professional can assess tooth enamel appropriately, the five signs of acid erosion that you should be on the lookout for include tooth enamel that is weakened, thinning, transparent/see through, yellowing, or dull. And what’s surprising is that everyday foods and drinks, even healthier choices like oranges, apples, and other citrus fruits that are high in acid, yet common in today’s modern diet, can increase your risk for acid erosion.
Fortunately, you don’t have to make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle or diet to reduce your risk for acid erosion. Ther are five simple, proven steps that everyone can take to help reduce their risk for acid erosion.
What are these steps?
1. Don’t give up healthy food in your diet, particularly fruit, but do take a fresh look at how you eat it.
2. Don’t swish, swirl, or hold acidic foods in your mouth for too long.
3. Many drinks, especially carbonated ones, can contribute to acid erosion. Try drinking through a straw or substituting the soft drinks with water or milk.
4. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking and make sure you’re using a soft-bristled tooth brush.
5. Consider using a fluoride toothpaste, like ProNamel, along with a fluoride mouthwash, to help protect your teeth from the effects of everyday acidic foods and drinks
How can you tell if you consume too many acid-rich foods in your diet?
All Americans should know their own Acid Truth—they should consider how many acid-rich foods they are consuming per day and how they can best take action to reduce their risk. That’s why I encourage everybody to visit www.pronamel.us to take a 4-question quiz to determine their own Acid Truth.
A certain elitist image comes to mind when you think of “Beverly Hills,” but cosmetic dentist Dr. Arthur Glosman wants to change that. A beautiful smile and healthy teeth should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, he believes. Dr. Glosman stresses that healthy teeth and gums not only give you a gorgeous Hollywood smile, but also are beneficial to your health, including the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, oral cancer, and stroke. A graduate of the University of Southern California’s dentistry school, he narrowed his area of specialty to porcelain veneers, metal-free bridges and crowns, and “Smile Makeovers” through his studies at Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies.
What can our readers do at home to keep their teeth strong and white? Are there any special foods to eat?
Keeping teeth strong and pearly white is very easy if you eat right and have the right tools to brush, floss, and rinse at least two times a day. I always recommend a healthy diet and to eat carrots, cauliflower, apples, nuts, and cheese to keep teeth clean and strong. Crunchy foods like these help physically remove plaque but also have nutrients your teeth need to stay healthy.
For cleaning, I recommend electric sonic toothbrushes, but if that’s not in your budget, get a toothbrush with medium bristles unless you have extra sensitive gums. Be sure to brush all the way in the back and floss in the hard to reach places as best you can. Whitening toothpastes are great for daily maintenance, but for extra whitening, at-home whitening kits or pens sold at the grocery store are affordable and effective.
What is the difference between professional teeth bleaching at a dentist’s office and at-home bleaching strips, which seem to work quite well?
If a quicker or brighter white is desired, professional in-office teeth bleaching with higher concentrations of whitening active ingredients rather than at-home kits is the way to go. In-office treatments may or may not have a light source to accelerate the process. Either way, instead of a gradual process over 2 weeks, an in-office treatment can have your teeth pearly white in about an hour. Additionally, when done in-office, a fluoride solution can be applied to help reduce tooth sensitivity. Also, in-office treatments open the enamel pores on teeth, not only making the teeth potentially sensitive, but also easily stained. So only ingest clear liquids and foods for 24 hours after treatment and avoid acidic drinks and foods for a few days.
Is capping teeth still a popular solution to correcting a smile. Why or why not?
Capping teeth, or placing an all-ceramic crown restoration, is still a popular and necessary solution to correcting a smile in many cases. A crown can correct the position, shape, color, as well as the bite. It provides full coverage protection for the tooth and increases its longevity in the mouth. Veneers are the alternative and can be a better solution because they involve a more conservative restoration.
Can dental procedures improve one’s facial appearance? Tell us about the Glosman Dentalift™ and Liplift™.
Dental procedures such my Glosman DentaLift™ and LipLift™ can improve the facial appearance by enhancing and correcting certain features due to teeth being worn down over time. For example, the LipLift, is the use of veneers or crowns on a person’s upper teeth to help support the upper lip and give it the appearance of being fuller by angling the restorations forward toward the lips. It also can help make cheeks that have lost volume look fuller by angling the restorations more toward the cheek area.
The Glosman DentaLift helps restore a collapsed bite that has been worn down by grinding over time. When a bite is collapsed due to wearing down of the teeth, wrinkles, and fine lines develop at the corners of the mouth. By restoring the length of the teeth, we can help reduce the fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth as well as the eyes, the face is elongated and wrinkles are reduced for a more youthful and healthier appearance.
Is symmetry always a goal in correcting someone’s smile? Nothing is perfect in this world—does that go for smiles?
I strive for symmetry in my work, but I add natural characteristics to each tooth to give it natural beauty so as to avoid looking artificial. Listening to the wants and needs of the patient is instrumental so I can provide them with the end-result they want and at the same time making it look like it was the smile they were born with.
What three questions should a patient always ask his or her cosmetic dentist?
Three questions a patient should always ask are: 1) How long have you been practicing cosmetic dentistry? 2) May I see photo examples of your work? 3) Check online and read reviews by other patients. Research and due diligence will always get you the best result.