We all know that having a good grill is one of the best ways to impress, but besides the usual “brush twice and floss daily” routine, it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of what works best to keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh.
Dr. Jeffery Reagan, a prosthodontist at Manhattan’s HMC Dental, (with celebrity clients from Broadway to the silver screen), gave us a few pointers.
RUB IT THE RIGHT WAY
“You should brush two to three times a day, after each meal,” Reagan says. “Aim to dedicate two minutes to cleaning your teeth, dividing the time into four 30-second quarters, one for each side of your mouth.” He prefers an electric toothbrush, like the Sonicare DiamondClean by Philips ($219.99, Sonicare.com), but if you’d rather go for a regular brush, nothing works bet- ter than a classic rectangular head. Take it easy, though: “No need to saw back and forth when you’re brushing,” Reagan adds. “Because your teeth are rounded, the most effective way to clean them is to go in gentle circular motions, with a 45-degree angle.”
TREAT—BUT DON’T BEAT— YOUR GUMS
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum irritation. If you’re particularly sensitive, opt for an extra-soft bristle, and replace your toothbrush every two months. Reagan recommends flossing at least once a day with the disposable Reach Access Flosser ($2.99, ReachFloss.com), great for tough-to- get back teeth, thanks to its longer handle.
LAY OFF THE DARK STUFF
To keep a bright smile, reduce your intake of coffee, tea, and red wine (smoking is also a no-no, obviously).
“A whitening procedure using custom impression trays ($200– $900 per session, depending on the practice) is the best way to bring back the white, with results lasting up to four years,” Reagan says. But studies have shown that blue-light whitening (or “laser whitening”) does nothing for your teeth. “The color is gone after a month, and the gel used is very abrasive for the gum tissue,” Reagan says. “A more affordable DIY solution is the Crest 3D White Whitestrips ($31.99, 3DWhite.com), whose new formulation sticks better to your teeth.”
NEXT: 4 Oral Hygiene Essentials
TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
Your teeth can be as white as Elle Fanning, but if your mouth isn’t fresh, it’s a lost cause. These products will help.
Mouthwash is optional if you’re a meticulous brusher, but it’s still a good supplement. It’s also great when you’re in a rush. $25, 16.9 oz.; Aesop.com
EPIC DENTAL 100% XYLITOL GUM
Chuck chewing gum with sugar from your diet and pick up some with xylitol, a sweetener that actively fights cavities. $4.99 per bottle, at Whole Foods
Its detoxifying bristles, blended with charcoal powder, kill bacteria and bad odors. $6.50, FellowBarber.com
REMBRANDT DEEPLY WHITE TOOTHPASTE
Toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth don’t always work, but a safe bet is Rembrandt’s formula, enriched with active peroxide. $7.49, 2.6 oz.; Rembrandt.com