X Factor's back and it's hard not to notice Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's gleaming pearly whites. So if you've been wondering how to wow with teeth whiter than white, here are leading cosmetic dentist Dr Richard Marques' eight insider trade secrets...
- Avoid eating refined sugar: This is number one for the long-term care of your teeth. We all know that refined sugar is bad for your body, and many diets now recommend cutting it down or out completely, but sugar is equally bad for your teeth. Sugar attacks the enamel on your teeth, breaking it down and forming cavities, and is the main reason that people require fillings.
- Reduce tea and coffee intake: Tea and coffee can leave unsightly stains on the teeth. Try to make your coffee or tea more milky (black tea and coffee leaves far more stains) or better still cut them out all together. When cutting out caffeine containing substances it is important to reduce them gradually rather than stopping all together as your body becomes used to the caffeine.
Peter Andre is a self-confessed coffee lover but Dr Richard says stick to a milky tea or coffee to keep your teeth sparkling
- Cut down acidic foods and drinks: Acid containing foods and drinks such as citrus fruits and juices and fizzy drinks can dissolve the enamel covering on your teeth. When eating oranges wait 30 minutes before brushing to avoid wearing away vulnerable enamel. Use a straw when drinking fruit juices to bypass the teeth altogether. Change fizzy drinks to the non-sugar containing versions and consider replacing then with other drinks such as water or milk.
- **Eat “teeth-friendly’ foods**: These include cheese, nuts and strawberries which naturally clean the teeth and contain the right vitamins and minerals needed to strengthen your enamel. Sugar-free gum and mints containing xylitol can also help to protect the teeth. Have these after a meal to freshen your breath and clean your teeth at the same time!
Sam Faiers makes sure James "Arg" Argent gets his dose of strawberries to keep his teeth shining!
- Stop smoking: Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco can damage your gums as well as affecting your health. They also lead to gradual yellowing and staining of the tooth enamel. A much more serious risk of smoking is that of oral and throat cancer from the noxious chemicals contained in the fumes. E-cigarettes do not stain the teeth at all, but giving up completely is the real answer for your teeth and general health.
- Use a high-quality electric toothbrush: Electric toothbrushes, like the Philips Sonicare and Oral B ranges, can really make a difference in your smile. Generating up to 31,000 brushstrokes a minute, the new generation of electric toothbrushes are able to achieve a level of teeth cleaning that just isn’t possible with a manual toothbrush. It’s like a mini visit to the dentist every time you brush! I have seen some great results on my patients who have started using them on a regular basis.
- Have your teeth checked and scaled regularly by a dentist: There is no substitute for seeing a dentist on a regular basis to have your teeth thoroughly examined. Calculus (or tartar) is like limescale on a kettle and needs to be cleaned off using a special machine (the ultrasonic scaler). New treatments like Air-Flow use bicarbonate and water to remove even the toughest stains caused by tea, coffee, red wine and smoking. We often like to replace your old metal fillings with white ones that are closer in appearance and hardness to natural enamel and tend to last longer than the standard amalgam.
Dr Richard says make sure you have regular checks at the dentist - if Lindsay Lohan can do it, so can you!
- Consider teeth whitening treatments: First impressions count! When carried out by a cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is a fantastic and safe treatment that does not damage the teeth in any way. We can personalise treatments using in-clinic and home-based systems to achieve celebrity-worthy results for our patients in record time. I recently treated a TV presenter who was going for a job on ITV. After having the whitening, he got the job straight away!
For more info on leading dentist cosmetic Dr Richard Marques, please visit his clinic www.wimpolestreetdental.com