They say you’re never fully dressed without a smile, and in the run up to Christmas, most of us are likely to get our teeth out more often than Cheryl Cole on the red carpet. And however long you spend on your hair, makeup and outfit, bearing your not-so-pearly whites can ruin confidence, and a great Facebook profile picture.
Y! Lifestyle spoke to Donnamarie McBride, teeth whitening expert at LoveLite, who gave us her top tips for how to get a sparkling smile and shiny white teeth this season.
1. Limit red wine
In red wine is a combination of dyes and acids that in the short term can stain your saliva, coating your teeth with a red stain. In the long term it can also damage the enamel on your teeth. To combat this, brush your teeth or have a glass of water if you’ve been enjoying a glass or two.
2. Limit smoking
Smoking not only causes bad breath but teeth can become permanently stained if you smoke for many years, as the stains spread into tiny cracks in the tooth enamel. It can also lead to gum disease, tooth loss and - in extreme cases - mouth cancer. Not pretty.
3. Limit tea and coffee
Tea and coffee contain tannic acid that stains the teeth, with black tea and coffee doing the worst damage. It’s best to stick to green tea, white tea or herbal teas instead.
[Related: 10 questions on whitening your teeth]
4. Use a mouth wash
Make sure to use a mouthwash after every meal to wash away bacteria. Colgate Plax Whitening mouthwash for example not only helps prevent germs, but also claims to prevent teeth stains by up to 48 per cent.
5. Brush teeth after every meal
Use a toothbrush an hour after eating to give the saliva in your mouth a chance to neutralise the acid in your food. Don’t brush your teeth straight after eating as it can damage your teeth – especially if the food contained acid, such as fizzy drinks and fruit.
6. Floss every day
Though it doesn’t actually lighten your teeth, floss makes them look whiter by removing the particles between them - it can it help prevent against gum disease too.
7. Wear coral or red lipstick
Lipsticks with blue tones, such as MAC’s Ruby Woo, enhance the natural whiteness of your teeth, while corals make them appear whiter too. Maybelline Color Sensational in Coral Crush is recommended by beauty bloggers as being one of the best whitening lipsticks. If you have yellow teeth, though, avoid hot pink, which contrasts badly.
[Related: Teeth whitening to brighten a smile]
8. Change your toothbrush every three months
Your toothbrush becomes worn out after a few months and it’s not as effective at removing plaque from teeth and gums. It also becomes a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria. Nice…
9. Avoid dark coloured foods after having teeth whitening treatment
Certain foods and drinks, including coffee, tea, coke, vinegar and ketchup can stain your teeth, which reverses the treatment you’ve just had. Try and avoid foods that would stain your clothes as they’re likely to stain your teeth too.
10. Eat crunchy foods
Foods such as apples, celery and carrots have a natural abrasiveness that can help remove stains from the teeth – and don’t harm your enamel doing so.
For more information on professional teeth whitening, visit the LoveLite website.
How do you keep your teeth white? Let us know over on Twitter with the #YLifestylePearlyWhites.