Photo Credit: depositphotos.com
Oral care is non-negotiable, and comprehensive mouth maintenance has been linked to overall health. “So many people are concerned about diet and exercise, yet they fail to take proper care of their teeth and gums,” explains cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Kantor of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City. “There’s a definitive connection between gum disease and higher rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body, and it’s never too late to start,” he says.
In addition to brushing twice a day, you should be flossing and using an antiseptic rinse once a day, and Dr. Kantor also offers these tips for maximizing oral health—and your smile.
- If you think brushing harder is brushing better, guess again. “Too much pressure can cause erosion of the enamel as well as gum recession,” explains Dr. Kantor. “Be gentle on your gums by massaging them with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.”
- Understand the difference between whitening and bleaching: “Whitening is the process of removing surface stains to make the teeth appear whiter. This can be done with over-the-counter products like whitening toothpastes,” he says. “Bleaching involves using an ingredient such as hydrogen peroxide to break up stains deeper in the tooth. Over-the-counter bleaching products aren’t as strong or effective as the treatments you can get at the dentist’s office, but Crest Whitestrips work.”
- Kantor shares a DIY that whitens and bleaches your teeth: “Mix peroxide and baking soda together to create a toothpaste-like consistency and brush with it.”
- No time to bleach before a big event? “Apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your teeth for an instantly brighter smile. This will also help prevent staining if you drink red wine,” he shares.
A toothbrush, toothpaste and floss may be the bare essentials, but here are a few ways to step up your mouth-maintenance game—and have a little more fun while you’re at it!
Quip (Starting at $25)
More than an extremely chic electric toothbrush, Quip is a subscription-based program designed to optimize your oral health by delivering a new brush head to your door every three months (since this is how often we’re supposed to replace our toothbrushes). First, choose from a plastic or slightly fancier brushed metal model, select your refill plan (they’ll even send you toothpaste if you desire) and get ready to smile when your Quip arrives!
Prophix ($299, currently available for pre-order)
This forthcoming smart-toothbrush is poised to take oral care to a whole new level thanks to live video that wirelessly streams directly to your phone via an app. Yes, this electric rotating brush gives you an extreme close-up of your teeth and gums in real time as you brush, tracks your brushing habits and allows you to take photos that you can show your dentist if you spot something suspicious. It also comes with a bevy of professional-grade attachments that help you clean under the gum line, boost circulation and get a better view of those hard-to-reach areas.
Plaque HD Plaque-Identifying Anti-Cavity Toothpaste ($16.95)
Plaque can be sneaky, and nearly impossible to eliminate completely. Plaque HD toothpaste lets you see every last bit of it thanks to a plant-based dye that turns plaque green so all you have to do is brush until you’re in the clear. If you like how your teeth feel after a professional cleaning, this is the toothpaste for you.
Apa Beauty Pink Oral Gel ($25)
If you think your #smilegoal should be white, white, white, consider the fact that healthy gums alone can make your teeth look that much better. Designed for twice-daily use, this antioxidant-rich gel is formulated with vitamin E to decrease inflammation, peppermint oil to fight bacteria and freshen breath, and rejuvenating botanical extracts that nourish your gums so they stay healthy and pink, pink, pink.
GoSmile Touch Up Smile Perfecting Ampoules ($25)
These perfectly portable ampoules serve up a single-dose of breath-freshening and stain prevention with a built-in tooth-polishing applicator. A must after sushi (i.e. soy sauce) and drinking red wine, they help maintain your at-home smile-enhancement regimen while you’re out and about.
NOTE: Quip and Plaque HD products were provided for review. All opinions are my own.