We all want to look our fashionable best and that includes having pearly whites, which is why we’re turning to former White House periodontist Dr. Nicholas Toscano for dental care tips for a brighter smile, suggestions on home teeth whiteners that work, and more.
The Fashion Spot: What are some things we can do in the short term to help us get a great smile?
Dr. Nicholas Toscano: #1 is your dental hygiene. If you want to keep your great smile, you need to visit your dentist on a regular basis. Proper hygiene is a must when trying to achieve a perfect smile. Many of the problems that prevent us from having the beautiful smile we desire originate in a careless teeth cleaning routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is critical to a healthy and beautiful smile. Regular flossing will help you get rid of 40% of bacteria. Since most cavities appear between the teeth, it's essential to include flossing in our teeth cleaning routine. Cleaning your teeth is not only important in keeping your teeth white and free of cavities, it's also important to remove the bacteria from below the gum line that research studies have shown may cause heart disease, strokes, pre-term low birth weight babies, and many other diseases that can effect your overall general health.
tFS: How can we deal with tooth stains?
NT: With age, the enamel on teeth becomes thinner and more transparent and the inner layer, called dentin (dentin is naturally yellow in color), looks darker. Teeth also absorb colored liquids throughout your life causing intrinsic staining of the teeth, which is hard to remove. Coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are frequent culprits, along with more tenacious tobacco stains. Extrinsic stains can be easily solved by maintaining a good hygiene regimen or getting regular teeth cleanings (every 3 months) by your dentist. On the other hand, intrinsic stains may be more difficult to manage. Intrinsic stains are cased by certain foods and drinks who manage to get into the enamel causing discoloration and become more difficult to remove. Wine, coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, or tobacco, are notorious teeth stainers that should be avoided as much as possible, especially before important events when you will be in the spotlight and you must look your best. Avoiding these foods and drinks a few days before an important event as well as using a whitening toothpaste will have a dramatic effect on the way your teeth will look.
tFS: What’s the deal with teeth bleaching?
NT: It’s not a secret that many models often turn to expensive teeth whitening treatments in order to get a perfect smile. Professional teeth bleaching procedures are expensive and can reach up to $1200 per visit. Treatments such as BriteSmile and Zoom are highly popular and their advantage is instant whitening in one visit. If you’re not in a hurry, there are plenty over-the-counter bleaching kits that are only the fraction of the cost of a professional treatment and they can provide very satisfactory whitening that takes a week or two to complete.
tFS: Can you talk about cosmetic veneers?
NT: Cosmetic veneers are among the most popular methods that Supermodels and Hollywood stars use in order to hide imperfections and to improve their smile. Veneers are thin layers of porcelain that cover the teeth surface, being able to solve a variety of problems from misshaped, chipped, or cracked teeth to teeth discoloration. For this procedure, the teeth are shaped by removing a thin layer of enamel to be able to place the cosmetic veneers. The veneers adhere to the teeth, becoming a part of it. Porcelain veneers are very durable, being able to last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. As an added benefit, cosmetic veneers will be more resistant to stains.
tFS: For over the counter bleaching or whitening, what are your favorite kits?
NT: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid, which are worn for 30 minutes a day, for 14 days. On average, they lighten your teeth about three to four shades. If you’re willing to pay a little more, GO SMiLE Whitening Tooth System is another option. It consists of individual tubes of teeth whitening gel with attached applicators. The gel is squeezed onto the applicator and then scrubbed onto the teeth. It is designed to stay on teeth and naturally dissolve so it doesn't have to be removed.