From teeth whitening to emergency treatments, here’s what a top dentist wants you to know about oral care between appointments.
We’re getting used to missing out on all our regular salon visits – but medical appointments have also been put on hold, meaning we’ve had to overlook some of the check-ups we might ordinarily take for granted...like the dentist, for example.
Perhaps you blame your morning coffee. Or maybe it’s that you’re enjoying an evening glass of red wine a little too often during lockdown (no judgement here). No matter the culprit, your teeth aren’t as white - or healthy for that matter - as you’d like them to be and you’d like to do something about it. But it’s not just salons that are shut, most dental surgeries are closed too for non-urgent services.
That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of Dr Lisa Craven and Dr Vanessa Craven, founders of Spotlight Oral Care, to give us the lowdown on ensuring max whitening at home.
Keep scrolling for their top tips on how to best look after your teeth at home.
Nail the basics
Before you even buy an at-home whitening kit, you need to be sure you’re actually looking after your teeth. Partially because you’ll be throwing money away if your teeth aren’t already in the best condition they can be but mainly because it’s all too easy to fall out of healthy habits. “Floss twice a day,” advises Vanessa. “As most dental practices are closed, now is not the time to be trialling new products. Dentists recommend using products with active ingredients, including fluoride to combat decay and chlorhexidine to promote gum health. Use products that are targeted at your own individual oral health needs.” But don’t stop there, “use a hydrogen peroxide-based mouthwash like the White Teeth Wash from Spotlight Oral Care (€12.99) for one minute, ideally at a separate time from teeth brushing to maximise the results,” adds Lisa. “Not only will this keep your teeth bright and white, but it will also contribute to great oral health.”
Now that many of us are working from home, it’s easier than ever to indulge. We’re not saying to stop snacking completely (that would be cruel), but we are suggesting you adjust your mealtimes. “Try to eat more at mealtimes to reduce snacking between meals,” advises Lisa. “What causes decay is not what you eat, but how often you eat.”
Bin Your Brush
If you have to think about when the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s been too long. Rather than just pick up another pack of four at the supermarket, both Lisa and Vanessa agree that sonic brushes are best. “Sonic brushes, such as the Spotlight Sonic Brush (€110), are far more effective at plaque removal than manual brushes and will reduce gum disease and inflammation.” What’s more, they are also better at removing stains and keeping your teeth white - especially if you’ve noticed your red wine or coffee intake has increased over the past few weeks.
be covid-19 conscious
Now more than ever, it’s important to practice good personal hygiene – including when it comes to your teeth. Our mouths have the potential to spread infections, so keep your toothbrush separate from other people’s. "Store your brush head down in a mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide and make sure you rinse it under hot water before and after brushing," says Lisa. This will help kill off any germs. Oh, and always wash your hands before and after you brush your teeth.
White On Time
If you thought the eyeshadow market was oversaturated, may we introduce you to the world of at-home teeth whitening.
With new products and gadgets popping up left, right and centre, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, both Lisa and Vanessa do; “To easily incorporate whitening into your daily routine, we’d recommend opting for a teeth-whitening toothpaste.” While most toothpastes claim ‘brighter, whiter teeth’ are simply marketing jargon, the Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening by Spotlight Oral Care (€9.50) not only whitens your teeth thanks to the active ingredients inside, but it also strengths too.
However, if you’re after something a little more instant, you may be tempted to reach for a kit containing charcoal - don’t do this. “Charcoal-based whitening is abrasive and damaging to the enamel. It’s also important to not use anything with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide,” says Vanessa. Instead, opt for a teeth whitening strip, such as the Spotlight Oral Care Teeth White Strips (€39.95), which contains no more than 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide as this will whiten the teeth without damage.
Although it’s easier said than done, especially in these uncertain times, relaxing is a key stage to healthier gums and whiter teeth. “Anxiety and stress can cause inflammation in your mouth and gums, so try to avoid and reduce stress to promote good oral health,” advises Vanessa. “Remember, there is emergency cover available from dentists in case you do need to urgently see a dentist.” So long as you make up for reduced attendance at your dentist by flossing, using active ingredients, reduce sugary foods and use a sonic brush - you’ll see healthier, whiter teeth in no time.
Main image by @devonleecarlson