4 Effortless Steps to Whiter Teeth
Dr. Stephen Persichetti
Some of my patients obsess about how their teeth look -- and spend hours taking care of them. But the truth is, getting whiter teeth and healthy gums requires just a few minutes a day. Here’s how to do it:
Brush After Your Coffee
Cleaning your teeth before you drink and eat doesn’t make much sense. And by the way, sipping coffee all day long without brushing afterward is a surefire way to stain your teeth. To keep my teeth white, I drink a cup in the morning, brush, and then I’m done. Grab your morning joe on the way to work? Then at least rinse your mouth with water when you’re finished. You should also be sure to rinse after consuming any of the following: tea, blueberries, curry, soy sauce, wine, and (surprise!) dark-green veggies like broccoli and kale.
Time spent: Two minutes for brushing, 15 seconds for rinsing
Stick out Your Tongue
While you’re brushing your teeth, spend an extra few seconds on your tongue -- that’s where a lot of the germs that cause bad breath hang out. Brush as far back as you can go without gagging. Once you start cleaning your tongue routinely, your breath will be much fresher.
Time spent: 20 seconds
Floss With Your Feet up
You can’t have a healthy smile (and good breath) without flossing once a day. There’s no other way to get rid of all the debris that accumulates in between teeth. But who says you have to do it in the bathroom? I floss in front of the TV. Technique is important too: Don’t just floss in between your teeth, draw it up against the side of each tooth and scrub as much of the surface as possible.
Time spent: Two and a half minutes
Take a Look Around in There
Of course, your dentist will check for gum disease -- but chances are, you visit his office twice a year at most. If you notice that your gums are getting puffy or bleeding between appointments, give him a call. Gum disease is easiest to treat when you catch it early, plus you can avoid the bad breath, loose teeth and expensive dental work it causes.
Time spent: 10 seconds
Dr. Stephen Persichetti is a dental surgeon and family dentist in Portland, Ore., and a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. He is a past president of the Oregon Academy of General Dentistry and is affiliated with Donated Dental Services, treating many patients who could not otherwise afford dental care.
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