Perfect and brighten your smile with our expert tips
'Brushing your teeth when you get up is very important,' says cosmetic dentistry expert Dr Uchenna Okoye. 'Most people make the mistake of having breakfast first, but eating or drinking anything acidic such as fruit juice or a sugary cereal softens the enamel of your teeth, so you'll effectively be brushing it away. But the most important time to brush is before you go to bed. You produce the least amount of saliva then and harmful bacteria will have more time to multiply as you sleep.'
'Brushing your tongue should be an essential part of your daily cleaning routine,' says Uchenna. 'Bacteria lurk in the crevices and colonise very quickly, contributing to gum disease and bad breath. A quick scrub with your toothbrush is OK, but a tongue scraper will do the job perfectly.'
'Invest in an electric toothbrush,' advises Uchenna. 'Along with giving your teeth a really thorough clean, you'll also save time. You need to use an electric brush for only two minutes compared with the four minutes it takes to get the same result brushing by hand.'
Oral-B Triumph PC 5000, £160, has an interactive display so you can keep an eye on your brushing technique.
Only a fool eats garlic before a first date, but did you realise that not drinking enough water can also cause fusty breath? Without the added lubrication of water, your saliva changes consistency and fails to neutralise the bacteria in your mouth that create a stink. Bad breath can also be an indicator of gum disease. A clean by a dentist or hygienist will freshen you up more effectively than a 24/7 chewing gum habit.
Colgate Plax Alcohol Free Mouthwash, £2.99
'Teeth have a porous surface and can be stained by dark foods,' says Uchenna. 'If yours are already discoloured, give the biggest culprits - tea, coffee, cigarettes and red wine - a wide berth. Whitening toothpastes offer a short-term solution to surface stains.'
Uchenna suggests Sensodyne Iso-Active Toothpaste, £4.29, which uses a micro-foam to restore brilliance. For an at-home whitening treatment, the Go Smile Whitening System, £79, contains 20 ampoules of serum to be used over a week-long period. Say cheese!
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