3 Habits and Best Practices to Brighten Your Smile

  • Written by Dr. Michael Letham

Are your less-than-white teeth staining your looks, image and reputation?

In today's image-obsessed world, a bright, appealing smile can be your most powerful accessory.

Numerous surveys all lead to similar conclusions: White teeth make you look more attractive, younger and healthier. It can take 10 years off your face and emphasize your best facial features.

Moreover, the benefits you can enjoy from having flawless pearly whites go beyond vanity and aesthetics. Studies have shown how the confidence boost you get from better-looking teeth can also positively impact your career, social life and personal relationships.

Bringing Out a Brighter Smile


Before you begin your quest for a brighter smile, it’s important to first understand that ensuring your teeth are white and unstained is not a one-time project. Rather, it requires long-term commitment and discipline day in, day out. Most of all, it entails the use of proven techniques and the best dental care for long-term results.

To achieve white and healthy teeth, start with the following habits and best practices:

1. Give only the most thorough clean for your teeth and gums every day.

A regular dental hygiene routine isn’t enough. You need to ensure no unwanted particles remain in between your teeth and no surfaces are left unpolished. To do this, follow the right cleaning techniques.

  • Don’t rush. Make sure you brush for at least two minutes, taking the time to give full attention to each tooth. Better yet, invest in an electric toothbrush to achieve more strokes per surface.

  • Brush your teeth right. Use a toothbrush with small or medium bristles that allow you to reach the small nooks and crannies inside the mouth. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle along your gum line. Making sure the brush is touching your gums (so they get cleaned, too), sweep towards the bottom of the teeth.

  • Don’t forget the other cleaning essentials. Floss at least once a day to get rid of plaque and prevent stain-causing tooth decay. Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper to prevent bacteria buildup.

2. Eat teeth-friendly food and drinks.

Proper nutrition keeps your teeth and gums strong and healthy. At the same time, it pays to know which foods and drinks can help you achieve radiant teeth, and which can sabotage your smile.

Eat and drink the following:

  • Munch on fresh, crisp fruits and vegetables that “clean” your teeth and gums such as apples, carrots, cauliflower and celery.

  • Snack on strawberries, pineapples and oranges as these have enzymes containing acids that neutralize bacteria and brighten the teeth surface.

  • Drink water in between sips of red wine to block the wine’s pigments from seeping through your teeth’s enamel.

Reduce consumption of certain foods and beverages, especially if you won’t be able to brush your teeth immediately right away:

  • Frequent consumption of coffee, red wine, dark soda and other dark-colored beverages can lead to tooth discoloration.

  • Hot, sticky and dark-colored sauces such as hot fudge and barbecue sauce can also cause teeth to stain.

3. Get expert help.

With so many teeth whitening solutions you can easily buy off the shelves, why go to a dentist?

The following factors are worth considering:

  • Over-the-counter whitening solutions often offer very short-term results only.

  • Some products are not only ineffective; they can pose harm to your oral health by causing the teeth to become dehydrated and ultrasensitive.

  • Off-the-shelf kits won’t work if the cause of discoloration is more than the usual staining. Or if they do work, they might mask more serious conditions, such as decay or trauma, that only a dentist can detect.

When you go to a dentist to get teeth whitening help, you can expect your dentist to check not just how your tooth looks from the outside, but more importantly, the state of your oral health. This way, you’ll get to enjoy not just whiter but also stronger, healthier teeth.

Can’t afford an in-clinic session? Know that some of the most trusted, expert-approved whitening solutions such as Zoom teeth whitening offers both in-office and take-home options for the same results.


AUTHOR BIODr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual's requirements, Mike's focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.


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