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Get whiter teeth: expert advice and tips on how to get a healthier, brighter smile

Get whiter teeth: expert advice and tips on how to get a healthier, brighter smile – Beauty Rx

Jody Buffalo

With all the new whitening options now available–from in-office procedures to do-it-yourself kits–there’s no excuse for letting yellow teeth keep you from smiling. We turned to Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics in New York City, for tips on how to make your pearly whites truly white.

THE BASIC FACTS

A tooth has three layers: The enamel is the hard outer layer, the dentin is the tissue below, and the pulp is the center that contains the nerves and blood supply. There are two types of stains on teeth: extrinsic stains on the enamel and intrinsic stains in the dentin, which show through the enamel.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Some common causes of discoloration:

* Food, drink and smoking. Anything that stains white clothing, such as red wine or coffee, can cause extrinsic stains.

* Use of tetracycline antibiotics and excess fluoride during childhood may cause teeth to become discolored.

* Poor brushing habits. Brushing your teeth too vigorously with a hard-bristled brush or with abrasive toothpaste may cause the enamel to wear thin. To be safe, look for toothpastes that carry the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

* Age. Teeth–as part of the normal aging process–get darker as the enamel becomes thinner.

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Here’s how to get a megawatt grin. Beauty Rx:

1. Floss. Newest innovations: Reach Access Daily Flosser ($3; at drugstores), a tool that helps you floss hard-to-reach areas, and Aquafresh Floss ‘N’ Cap ($3; at drugstores), a toothpaste with a handy floss dispenser in the cap.

2. Brush twice a day for two minutes each session.

3. Brighten at home. Best bets: Rembrandt 2-Hour White Kit ($20; rembrandt.com); Crest Whitestrips Premium ($35; at drugstores), peroxide-covered strips that stick to teeth and provide a whiter smile when worn an hour a day for just seven days; and Smigel’s own gentle Supersmile Whitening Accelerator System ($30; super smileusa.com), with a whitening gel and toothpaste.

4. Seek professional help. Visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning to remove extrinsic stains. Dentists also can perform professional bleaching, which lightens teeth several shades in one to two hours for $500-$1,200.

RELATED ARTICLE: WHAT WORKS “Maintenance is vital after bleaching,” says Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., a New York City-based dentist who enhances the smiles of top celebrities with bleaching and other aesthetic-dentistry techniques. (Smigel revolutionized the cosmetic-dentistry industry almost 30 years ago by inventing bonding, in which tooth-colored resin is applied over teeth and sculpted to the desired shape.) “I don’t want people to think that they can never have red wine or coffee. But if you brush properly and care for your teeth, you’ll be able to maintain the results of bleaching for a longer time.” Smigel’s innovation: Quick Fix 20-Minute Teeth-Whitening ($350; smigel.com), an in-office treatment perfect for a touch-up before a special occasion, when you don’t need a full bleaching.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications

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