By Hope DeAngelis Schmid
Hollywood starlets aren’t the only ones who can achieve a bright, fetching smile; an ultra-white grin is easier to get than you may think. From do-it-yourself tricks to dental office techniques to makeup enhancers, there are many ways to get whiter teeth.
Schedule That Checkup
Regular cleanings can go a long way toward a whiter smile, says Robert I. Schwartz, a dentist and an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry who practices in New York City’s Central Park South. “Simple offenders like red wine, smoke, chocolate and blueberries can leave a superficial film on your teeth that darkens their outer surface. A normal visit with a dental hygienist for a cleaning and a polishing alone may be enough to enhance your smile,” says Schwartz.
Brushing morning and night and after you eat dark foods will help prevent stains from forming in the first place. If you can’t brush, try chewing gum or swirling water around your mouth after you eat.
If you want more whitening, the next step is an at-home bleaching product. They’re easy and affordable, and they make a significant improvement for many people -- often on par with in-office whitening, says Schwartz.
The one benefit to office procedures is that they generally use lasers, which shorten the treatment time, so results are immediate. However, you’ll pay significantly more at the dentist’s office than you would for at-home options.
Fake It With Makeup
The right lip color can make your teeth look brighter. Jan Simone, a makeup artist for film, television and fashion photography, says that in the past women wore blue-reds to whiten their smiles; but that actually makes you look older. Yikes! Instead, Simone says, “For a young, fresh look for spring, light pinks and mauves will help to brighten your smile.” She also recommends adding a touch of silvery light gloss to the center of the bottom lip to make your pout appear vibrant and fuller.
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