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Get a whiter smile today

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Brighen your pearly whites

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, so if yours isn’t looking optimal lately it’s time to dial up the wattage on your grin and get it looking gorgeous. After all, there’s no point sporting the latest shade of fabulous lipstick if your teeth are dull and stained. SheKnows got some insight from Dr. Nicholas Toscano, a cosmetic dental surgeon and periodontist in Manhattan, about how to get – and keep our teeth perfectly white.

Woman with bright smile

How to whiten teeth at home

Crest White strip vivid

The best way to whiten your teeth at home is through over the counter bleaching or whitening kits that you can buy at your supermarket or drug store, says cosmetic dental surgeon and periodontist Dr. Nicholas Toscano. He recommends Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid (priced around $33), which are worn for 30 minutes a day, for 14 days. On average, they lighten your teeth about three to four shades.

If you're willing to pay a little more, Dr. Toscano suggest trying GO SMiLE Whitening Tooth System ($89), which consists of individual tubes of teeth whitening gel with attached applicators. The gel is squeezed onto the applicator and then scrubbed onto the teeth. It is designed to stay on teeth and naturally dissolve so it doesn't have to be removed.

Before you consider doing something to your teeth you should speak with your dentist. Consulting with your dentist will help you avoid buying a product that either doesn't work or that could potentially cause more harm than good to your teeth.

Why teeth get discolored


If your teeth aren't looking their whitest Dr. Toscano says you can blame age and your diet. With age, the enamel on teeth becomes thinner and more transparent, causing teeth to look yellow. The inner layer, called dentin, is naturally yellow in color and becomes more noticeable as the enamel thins. Teeth also absorb colored liquids throughout your life –- all that coffee, tea, cola and red wine you've consumed are frequent culprits. As any dentist would recommend, for optimal oral health Dr. Toscano advices brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, avoiding cola and smoking and making sure you visit your dentist regularly.

Oral care mistakes

If you want to ensure the whitest smile you have to treat your teeth right, which involves seeing your dentist regularly. "Often patients just forget how important it is to go and get a regular cleaning," Dr. Toscano says. He recommends patients get a cleaning at least twice a year, or in the case of patients with gum disease (periodontal disease), he suggests cleansings four times a year. "Cleaning your teeth is not only important in keeping your teeth white and free of cavities but, it's also important to remove the bacteria from below the gum line that research studies have shown may cause heart disease, strokes, and many other diseases that can affect your overall general health."

Whitening on the go

Go smile touch up

Once you go through the trouble of getting your teeth white, the next challenge is keeping them that way. Dr. Toscano recommends GO SMiLE Touch up ($35), which consists of specially designed ampoules to help keep your smile white and bright, anytime, anywhere. These smile perfecting ampoules contain daily-use level of hydrogen peroxide to ensure stains don't stick to teeth. You can also use Colgate Total Whitening ($4) daily to help ensure your smile stays white while keeping teeth and gums healthy.

Celeb-favorite SUPERSMILE (Jennifer Lopez and Justin Timberlake are fans) also offers some great on-the-go whitening options. Try the Professional Whitening Gum ($24 for 100 pieces), which whitens teeth, freshens breath and removes superficial surface stains with every use. We also like the handy Travel Kit ($22.50) - everything you need to keep teeth white no matter where you go.

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