I spend a lot of time talking about lotions, potions, and treatments for the skin—all with the goal of creating your healthiest, most vibrant visage. But I have to admit that one of the best things you can do for your skin is not something you do to your skin. It’s something you do to your teeth. That’s right, your teeth.
It does not matter how youthful or smooth or well-kept your skin looks if your smile exposes dull or discolored chompers. White teeth not only make a person look younger; they also provide a contrast that makes the skin look more radiant.
For some people, white teeth are a genetic inheritance. With just daily flossing and brushing, they look as if a lesser-known Tooth Fairy perches in their mouth each night, polishing away with bleach and elbow grease. For others, though, dental care is a real labor and one that never produces a truly white grin. And then, of course, there is the majority: People who have sort of ho-hum teeth that don’t look dull but don’t really look all that white or bright either.
Here are a few pointers that are good for everyone to know:
• After eating acidic foods or drinks, such as tomato sauce or coffee, wait an hour before brushing. The acid can temporarily soften the white enamel of your teeth. Brushing when the enamel is soft increases the chance of enamel erosion.
• Reduce your intake of acidic foods and drinks. These wear away at tooth enamel over time. (Yes, this does qualify as yet another warning to cut down on soda!)
• Rinse your mouth with water after having wine, coffee, or other drinks that cause discoloration. Research shows that it helps fight staining.
• Some tooth discoloration is due to nerve damage, so don’t jump into teeth whitening if you have a history of tooth-trauma that needs to be explored. Only a dentist can identify—and help manage—this type of staining.
In the end, the best way to brighten your smile is professional whitening. We use the DaVinci system at my office, and it really does leave people with a wow reaction. Clients are so often surprised at how much younger they look overall when they complete a treatment and hold up the mirror. If you’ve never tried one, give it a shot. Your skin will thank you!